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PKR secretary-general Datuk Seri Saifuddin Nasution Ismail speaks during an interview with Malay Mail April 29, 2022. — Picture by Choo Choy May
PKR secretary-general Datuk Seri Saifuddin Nasution Ismail speaks during an interview with Malay Mail April 29, 2022. — Picture by Choo Choy May

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KUALA LUMPUR, May 7 — Datuk Seri Saifuddin Nasution Ismail insisted that he bore no hostility towards Nurul Izzah Anwar despite her apparent alignment with Rafizi Ramli, who is in a contest with him to be the PKR deputy president.

Instead, Saifuddin said he would always consider the Permatang Pauh MP and the daughter of PKR president Datuk Seri Anwar Ibrahim to be family.

In an interview with Malay Mail, Saifuddin said Nurul Izzah was one of the first people he told when he decided to contest the PKR deputy presidency at the next internal elections.

“People ask me if I’m threatened or not by Izzah but I treat her as my sister, you know? On the day when I made my announcement I texted Izzah and her reply was so polite I got sentimental thinking about it,” he said.

Saifuddin showed Malay Mail the text Nurul had sent him, which read: ‘Datuk, no matter who wins or does not have that opportunity, we will still fight the same fight. May we be forgiving and understanding and allow everyone the space to participate. We have been bogged down by factions for far too long. It’s time to unite. You have taught me a lot about patience and let’s continue our responsibility to the future generation.”

“You see, she never used the word ‘lose’,” Saifuddin said, beaming.

Saifuddin and Rafizi are set to contest for the deputy presidency, and Nurul Izzah’s support could tip perception in Rafizi’s favour.

The position was vacant when the previous incumbent, Datuk Seri Azmin Ali, defected from the party during the 2020 “Sheraton Move”.

In the run up to the contest, Rafizi and Nurul Izzah have made public remarks that appeared critical of the party and the larger Pakatan Harapan leadership and direction.

Rafizi said the party’s performance at the Melaka, Sabah, Sarawak and Johor state elections showed that its popularity is waning.

This has caused the emergence of factions in the party, with some aligning with the current leadership while others wanting a change are backing Rafizi and Nurul Izzah.

To this, Saifuddin insisted that he did not dabble in factionalism.

“I don’t have a team or faction, only Rafizi has factions. My tagline is we are all Keadilan. I use the word ‘us’ while Rafizi uses ‘me’. But that’s OK.

“Nurul knows I have always been there for her dad and mom even before the party was formed. We may have differences of opinions but we can always talk to each other like how I spoke to her after her ‘two election cycles’ comment.

“That is the level of professionalism I have with her,” he added.

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