KUCHING: The scheduled visit by Parti Keadilan Rakyat (PKR) president Datuk Seri Anwar Ibrahim to Kuching on Monday (July 22) has been called off amid what many perceive to be an ongoing rift in the party.
PKR Sarawak secretary Vernon Kedit in a notice today disclosed the ‘Jelajah Presiden ke Sarawak’ (President’s Visit to Sarawak) programme scheduled to be attended by Anwar is now cancelled.
“Please note that this programme due for Monday, July 22, has been cancelled until further notice,” said Vernon.
When asked further, Vernon said the cancellation was due to “an unforeseen clash and pressing engagement in the party president’s tight schedule”.
The itinerary for Anwar’s programme in Kuching had included a ‘Townhall Meeting with Anwar Ibrahim’ at a leading hotel at 3.30pm, followed by a press conference at the same venue.
Anwar was then scheduled to speak at a ‘Ceramah Umum Bersama DSAI, President Keadilan’ at Third Mile Bazaar that night.
The cancellation comes amidst a perceived rift within the party between two factions – one supporting Anwar and the other supporting deputy president Datuk Seri Azmin Ali.
Earlier today, PKR Sarawak chairman Baru Bian indicated he was on Azmin’s side when he told The Star that he did not sign the statement supporting Anwar.
“I did not sign the statement and I am not going to sign it,” said Baru when contacted by the national tabloid. Baru is also the MP for Selangau and the Works Minister.
He was asked to comment on news reports that six PKR state chiefs as of July 19 have signed the statement supporting Anwar in a widening rift with Azmin,
The statement was issued by a group of PKR state chiefs in retaliation to another statement telling off Anwar for asking Azmin to resign if the latter was indeed one of the men in a viral sex video.
A news report on July 20 quoted Terengganu state chief Azan Ismail as saying that only three of the 14 PKR state chiefs have yet to sign the statement. Baru was not named as being among the three who did not sign.
It was also reported that Baru did not attend the PKR retreat in Port Dickson, which is being held from July 19 to 21.
A large number of top PKR leaders who were deemed to be aligned to Azmin were missing from the party retreat which was organised to find solutions to the problems being faced by the party.
The notable absentees included Azmin himself, vice presidents Zuraida Kamaruddin and Ali Biju, women chief Haniza Talha and youth wing deputy chief Muhammad Hilman Idham and PKR Sarawak vice chairman Willie Mongin.