Selangor in Crisis, nation in extremis

August 27, 2014

Selangor in Crisis, nation in extremis

“But when the leaders choose to make themselves bidders at an auction of popularity, their talents, in the construction of the state, will be of no service. They will become flatterers instead of legislators; the instruments, not the guides, of the people. If any of them should happen to propose a scheme of liberty, soberly limited, and defined with proper qualifications, he will be immediately outbid by his competitors, who will produce something more splendidly popular. Suspicions will be raised of his fidelity to his cause. Moderation will be stigmatized as the virtue of cowards; and compromise as the prudence of traitors; until, in hopes of preserving the credit which may enable him to temper, and moderate, on some occasions, the popular leader is obliged to become active in propagating doctrines, and establishing powers, that will afterwards defeat any sober purpose at which he ultimately might have aimed.”

Edmund Burke, Reflections on the Revolution in France

by Terence

For Pakatan Rakyat the Khalid Ibrahim saga has become a rent garment – the more they fuss with it the worse the tear becomes. The issue begs closure; regnant confusion in the Attorney-General’s Chambers over the distinction between legitimate criticism and seditious speech has now become the most ominous threat to fundamental liberties.

Pakatan Rakyat ought to be concerned with the latter menace. Unchecked, it will wipe out the gains theGani Patail federal opposition has made since the seminal general election of March 2008. The country is drifting without a rudder because it has a leader at the helm who mistakes decidedly inelegant silence for moderation, in tandem with an Attorney-General who misconstrues the irreverent for the inflammatory.

Because Pakatan views itself as a government-in-waiting, it cannot allow continued neurosis over who is to be Selangor MB to be as disabling as Najib Abdul Razak’s catatonia and Gani Patail’s confusion are for the country.

Fatal to Pakatan would be the impression, now fast gaining ground, that it is a coalition where problems within one component incapacitate the whole, or worse, exposes its unity as a thing of expedience more than principle. Hence the question of who is to replace Khalid Ibrahim as Menteri Besar of Selangor must now be resolved with all deliberate speed. The matter has preoccupied Pakatan for eight exasperating months during which public confidence in the ability of presumptive occupants to Putrajaya has been gravely undermined.

wan azizah 1The crisis is headed for further protraction, judging from the initial reaction of PKR and DAP to soundings yesterday from the Selangor Palace that each component of Pakatan should recommend three candidates for the position of MB. It appears that PKR and DAP are insistent on wanting only Dr Wan Azizah Wan Ismail for the post. Their insistence on nominating one candidate will keep the matter of Khalid’s replacement simmering.

After withering on the vine for eight months, the issue demands resolution, if only because it has been overtaken by other – weightier – concerns, of national rather than merely provincial import. Further delay in resolving it will redound to Pakatan’s disadvantage more than it would to any other entity, now that Khalid has tendered his resignation and has been requested by the Sultan to hold it in abeyance until his replacement is appointed.

PKR and DAP, in insisting on one candidate for the MB position, will appear to be unduly captious just when they should be – especially now when greater dangers impend – more concerned to get things over and done with.

Horizon-scanners, not navel-gazers  

Their insistence will open them to the charge of being navel-gazers, to the point of myopia and hallucination, just when they must be horizon-scanners – for the good of the overall polity, given the clear and present danger posed it by a rudderless national leadership and confused law enforcement.

The DAP, in particular, should put itself within sight of a Deputy MB-ship in Selangor, something that can be contemplated within the dynamics of political developments in the state. Should a PKR candidate other than Wan Azizah be appointed, the DAP’s support for that candidate would be critical and, therefore, a quid pro quo is within the ambit of the possible. (Isn’t politics the art of the possible?)

This is not to say that the DAP should put position before principle. There is the matter of the room that democratic politics allows its players wherein they can test the parameters of the allowable. They should look at what is happening in a neighboring country which has elected as President someone who is from well outside the usual strata of Indonesian political society from which candidates for that position usually emerge.

The DAP ought to be encouraged that, by the elevation of Joko Widodo to the Indonesian Presidency and Jokowithe avenue this has opened for Basuki Tjahaja Purnama, an ethnic Chinese and – what is more – a Christian, to become governor of Jakarta, the proof is clear that democratic politics rotates on an axis that is ultimately subversive of unjust barriers posed by race and religion.

Therefore the DAP should not feel itself unduly tied to the logic of what is essentially internecine feuding within PKR, especially if that wrangling has more to do with of individuals who have the destructive serum in the veins from their party of origin (UMNO).

khalid-ibrahimThe Khalid Ibrahim of the last several months is not an aberrant incarnation but a continuum with his party of origin. Nothing much can be done about this phenomenon unless, of course, the pestilence of UMNO rule is finally removed from the body politic.

More delay in resolving the Selangor crisis means more deferrals to the day of our release from our primary ailment. With the spate of sedition charges filed against an assortment of Pakatan stalwarts, that ailment is at its most febrile. Pakatan must not be seen to fiddle in Selangor while the country seethes in an UMNO-induced stupor.


Curtains for Khalid must mean Fadeout for Anwar Ibrahim

August 27, 2014

Curtains for Khalid must mean Fadeout for Anwar Ibrahim

by Terence Netto (received via e-mail from the writer)

“It is ordained in the eternal constitution of things, that men of intemperate minds cannot be free. Their passions forge their fetters.”

Edmund Burke, Reflections on the Revolution in France

khalid-anwarCurtains for Both Anwar and Khalid

“…the destruction of the myth of UMNO-BN invincibility was an achievement of unparalleled significance to the body politic. Anwar was the chief architect of that destruction. His charisma, rhetoric and ability to make DAP and PAS stick together was a political tour de force.

Perhaps this achievement was too good to be true. For almost immediately after, Anwar began to take his eyes off the ball, which was the growth of the two-party system. While there is nothing wrong in being fixated on being Prime Minister, there is something called dissimulation which a shrewd politician deploys with skill to camouflage obsession and turn it to irony.”–Terence Netto

The eight-month old crisis revolving around the move by PKR to replace Selangor Menteri Besar Tan Sri Khalid Ibrahim is set to continue. A meeting between Khalid and the Selangor Sultan that was expected for yesterday (Monday, August 25) was deferred and the 10th Congress of PKR that concluded over the weekend added convolution more than clarity to the issue.

In short, a vexed issue is set for further protraction, serving up more cannon fodder for adversaries to claim that PKR is a messy party that aspires pretentiously to clean up the mess in the country spawned by UMNO-BN.

The dishevelment in PKR does not just lie in the party’s effort to replace Khalid as Selangor MB, it also resided in its election system that took four months to carry out and conclude in a result. For a party that has long being caustic about the way the Election Commission conducts polls in Malaysia, this was conduct that undermined the party’s credibility.

The embarrassment that was the party’s electoral process continued to haunt it even after the long drawn out exercise ended on August 10. At its congress last weekend, the election of the youth wing’s chief was disputed by members of the section’s executive committee. Though the matter was settled by the end of the three-day conclave, the settlement had a tenuous look about it.

PKR’s fragility is inherent. Fifteen years ago the party was born out of a coalition of disparate interests. This conglomeration included members of reform seeking religious groups like Abim and Jemaah Islah Malaysia (JIM), NGO activists, dissidents from component parties of BN — primarily from UMNO after Datuk Seri Anwar Ibrahim was sacked and jailed in 1998-99– and, generally, citizens who felt that the time had come for comprehensive reform of the political system in the country.

PKR are a motley bunch whose differing interests and ideologies had to be straddled and coaxed to move in a particular direction. It was the genius of Anwar whose travails had given birth to the party that fixed on the goal of justice for all Malaysians, as the glue to hold a disparate party together.

After his return to Malaysia in 2006 following a sabbatical he took in the United States upon his release in August 2004 from a six-year incarceration on trumped up charges of sodomy and corruption, Anwar provided the inspiration and rhetoric to lead PKR and a coalition of opposition parties that included the DAP and PAS to an historic milestone at the March 2008 general elections. This was the denial to Umno-BN of its customary two- third majority in Parliament. Four states – Penang, Kedah, Perak and Selangor – fell to the opposition while PAS retained Kelantan.

It was a stupendous achievement, with Anwar leveraging brilliantly on a march in Kuala Lumpur in late November 2007 organized by the Hindu Rights Action Force (Hindraf) that was a bellwether for all the discontent coursing through Malaysian society. Fed by many aggrieved streams, the river of discontent surged to a massive culmination: the destruction of UMNO-BN’s myth of invincibility at the 12th general election in March 2008.

Much good arose from that incineration. A sclerotic political landscape was shaken up. UMNO-BN realized that they could no longer do business in the same old ways. They had to undertake reform though that effort was halting and spasmodic. On the opposition’s side, the secular DAP knew that they needed to work together with the Islamist PAS in spite of their conflicting ideologies.

Aziz and Hadi ShowNik Aziz and Hadi Awang wield a big influence on PAS

When the tripartite coalition of PKR, DAP and PAS, called Pakatan Rakyat, began to hold together in the face of broad skepticism of its durability, a two-party system began to take shape in Malaysia. With that, voters realized that it would be a boon to democracy to foster the growth of a two-party system, in preference to what had hitherto been the case — the dominance of UMNO-BN, within which UMNO was monarch of all it surveyed.

In sum, the destruction of the myth of UMNO-BN invincibility was an achievement of unparalleled significance to the body politic. Anwar was the chief architect of that destruction. His charisma, rhetoric and ability to make DAP and PAS stick together was a political tour de force.

Perhaps this achievement was too good to be true. For almost immediately after, Anwar began to take his eyes off the ball, which was the growth of the two-party system. While there is nothing wrong in being fixated on being Prime Minister, there is something called dissimulation which a shrewd politician deploys with skill to camouflage obsession and turn it to irony.

Anwar is decidedly short on this score. In his single-minded focus on the acquisition of prime ministerial office, he neglects the nuances. He believes that after the acquisition of power, he can attend to the troubling bits that rear up now and then, neglect of which can result in an accumulation that can blow a hole in a party just when it’s ready to come into port.

This is what is happening in the Khalid Ibrahim saga. Khalid gave from the morning after Pakatan gained Selangor in the general election of March 2008 every indication that he was unsuitable – at least from the standpoint of PKR’s interests – as the party’s point man in the richest state in Malaysia. A successful corporate captain, Khalid was allowed to indulge his conceit that he could also be a successful political leader.

The two callings are vastly different. One is results oriented and requires only business acumen and managerial skill. The other depends on intangibles such as the skill to use means to ends, to set causes in motion, to wield the machine of society, to subject the wills of others to your own, to manage abler persons than yourself by means of that that is stronger in them than their wisdom, to wit, their weakness and their folly, to unwind the web of others’ policy and weave your own out of it, to understand character thoroughly, to see latent talent and lurking treachery, to know persons for what they are and to use them as they deserve, to have a purpose steadily in view and to effect it after removing every obstacle — these are the skills of a successful political leader and are alien to a successful corporate personality.

Anwar knew this about Khalid practically from day one of the latter’s MB-ship. But he was overly focused on his ambition to be unduly troubled by the conceits of a seeming compatriot. Now those defects have boomeranged to blow a hole as big as that crater in the Titanic’s hull after it hit the iceberg.

The fallout has been an unmitigated disaster for PKR. If it’s curtains for Khalid Ibrahim, it’s hard to see why it would not be so for Anwar Ibrahim.

The Sultan of Selangor ‘s Discretion is not “ABSOLUTE DISCRETION”, says Dr. Aziz Bari

August 24, 2014

The Sultan of Selangor ‘s Discretion is not “ABSOLUTE DISCRETION”, says Dr. Aziz Bari

by Ishmael


The Fight is still on

Last Friday night at the Chinese Assembly Hall in Kuala Lumpur, constitutional law expert Dr. Aziz Bari laid out expressly that PAS’s action in nominating a second name for the Menteri Besar’s post has created an avenue for the Selangor Palace to wade into the state’s messy politics.

Dr Bari  is of the view that the idea of “discretion” being bandied about by PAS and the public is not an “absolute discretion”. He says that the discretion exercisable by the sovereign ruler should be viewed in the context of democracy and a responsible government, and thus the provisions of the State Constitution still hold true.

On August 17, PAS in a special session of it’s Central Working Committee, ended public speculation about it’s continued support for Menteri Besar Khalid Ibrahim by nominating Wan Azizah Ismail and Azmin Ali for the job. But then it is purported that both Wan Azizah and Azmin are not Selangoreans by birth. And this has not missed the scrutiny of Malay rights NGO Perkasa, which has been pressing for a true-born Selangorean to get the job.

According to Section 53.3 of the Selangor State Constitution, “Notwithstanding anything in this Article, a person who is a citizen by naturalisation or by registration under Article 17 of the Federal Constitution shall not be appointed a Menteri Besar.”

Aziz and Hadi Show

The Influential PAS Duo

PAS has wittingly or unwittingly put the Sultan in the delicate position of having to accept either candidate against the provisions of the State Constitution, or go against the majority of the legislative assembly and, by extension, the rakyat. To circumvent the Hobson’s choice above by a dissolution of the legislature would be most unpopular as the house is still overwhelmingly dominated by Pakatan Rakyat, unlike the hung Perak State Assembly in 2009. Even then the house was not dissolved.

To complicate matters even more, Section 53.4 of the State Constitution states that, “In appointing a Menteri Besar, His Highness may in his discretion dispense with any provision in this Constitution restricting his choice of a Menteri Besar, if in his opinion it is necessary to do so in order to comply with the provisions of this Article.”

The Hobson’s choice becomes a Gordian knot when Section 53.3 is read in conjunction with Section 53.4, because discretionary powers are granted the Sovereign Ruler to reject any provisions of the constitution in order to fulfil the spirit of the article.


Azmin Ali also not Selangor Born, who is next?

If the Sultan of Selangor were to reject Wan Azizah on the ground that she is not Selangor born, then technically the same should apply to Azmin. This is taking into consideration the foregone conclusion that a motion of no confidence against Khalid has been passed and support for him is found wanting.

So what further options are open to the Sultan if the body of Pakatan Rakyat is to be kept alive? It would appear that to fulfil the provisions of the article, the Sultan would need to exercise his discretionary power in either accepting Azizah and dispensing with Section 53.3 of the Constitution, or by following the onstitution to the letter and looking elsewhere within the house for a member of Pakatan who best fits the glass slipper.

Will PKR risk injuring further its already shaky standing with the Selangor electorate by by-passing it’s two top leaders for a third nominee, or does it have any Selangor born Malays to nominate? DAP does not yet have any amongst its members of the House who fulfils substantively the conditions for eligibility to the Menteri Besar’s post as laid down in the constitution—until it transforms its party membership profile post-haste to better reflect the ethnic composition in Selangor.

Now that the Sultan is home, the rakyat will be wondering which of the shadow players will be waltzing at the ball, but what if the Menteri Besar’s glass slippers won’t fit Wan Azizah or Azmin and there are no Cinderellas in DAP. Will PAS come to the ball?

The Selangor Crisis calls into question Pakatan’s ability to Govern

August 23, 2014

The Selangor Crisis calls into question Pakatan’s ability to Govern

by Dr. Bridget Welsh

COMMENT: The ongoing Selangor crisis has riveted the Malaysian public for weeks and called into question the ability of the opposition to govern as a coalition. From attacks on each other to sackings and perceived party betrayals, the Selangor crisis has revealed underlying tensions among Pakatan Rakyat partners and showcased the fierce competition for power and positions within the national opposition itself.


Credibility Lost

This dynamics has overshadowed principles and escalated in tit-for-tat moves that reflect a family caught in battle. Emotions of anger and motivations of revenge have come to the fore, blinding many participants to the substantial deterioration of support among the public at large and to the shared struggles to strengthen Malaysia.

Most analyses to date have focused on the power contests among personalities and discussions of the steps taken in the crisis itself and their legal status. A number of commentators have highlighted the cost to public support and negative impact on governance.

This article centers on developments within Pakatan. The argument developed below is that responsibility for the Selangor crisis must be shared across parties and leaders, and new approaches within Pakatan itself are needed to win back public trust and forge the common ground within the national opposition coalition.

Rise of undemocratic practices

When the crisis began is a matter of debate. Some point to when Azmin Ali’s supporters demanded their leader be given the post of Selangor Menteri Besar (Chief Minister) immediately after GE-13 and openly revealed a lack of confidence in Khalid’s leadership.


Wrong Move?

Others point to the folly of the March 2014 ‘Kajang Move’, where the people were subjected to a by-election that revealed the inability of PKR to solve its problems in-house. Another focus was on mismanagement of governance challenges involving harmony among people of different religions and the state water crisis on the part of Abdul Khalid Ibrahim’s government.

The exact timing is moot, but a pattern has been clear: undemocratic pressures within Pakatan have been on the rise. The most blatant example of this is the steps taken by Khalid, including the sacking of Pakatan executive council members (exco members) who opposed him. In this action, Khalid has rejected the Pakatan coalition from which he was elected to office, mistakenly believing that the vote in the last two elections were about him rather than the issues of better governance and inclusion that got him elected in the first place.


A Clash of Two Ambitious PKR Leaders

This is a common political mistake, where ego apparently fuels the wrong perception that the office is about the person holding the position, rather the people who put the leader in office.The decision to go ahead and try to govern when it is clear, even without a formal vote of confidence, that he has a minority of support from the state legislature speaks volumes about Khalid’s prioritisation of self-interest over democracy and good governance.

It is indeed unfortunate that this path has been taken, for Khalid has made important contributions that should be recognised and appreciated. He still has valuable contributions to make, although given the reality of the current state of affairs, ideally in a new role.

Aziz and Hadi Show

Nik Aziz and Hadi Awang-Time to Say Goodbye

Khalid is not alone in opting for undemocratic practices. A similar trajectory has been going on within PAS, where the conservative ulama-led faction has announced party decisions by decree, rather than through consultation and consensus reached by the elected executive political committee. This has evolved after the PAS muktamar last year, when the ulama lost badly. They refuse to accept that the delegates voted decisively to stay in Pakatan and called for the leadership to reach more accommodative positions to strengthen PAS.

The decision over the move to tabling the hudud bill in Parliament last April, and more recently, pledging to support Khalid, were taken without adequately consulting the elected leaders in the party as a whole. The conservative faction in PAS knows that it does not have the votes among the elected party leadership and refuses to recognise that PAS delegates did not elect many of them into leadership positions.

They are clearly uncomfortable with accepting difference and diversity. They would rather adopt undemocratic practices to impose their divisive agenda, rather than respect voters at large who supported Pakatan or even their own party delegates. The conservative ulama group – many of whom are not actually ulama at all – also believe they have a special position that entitles them to putting their interests and opinions first.

Politics of confrontation

The misplaced political entitlement is only part of the current dynamics. For the past few months the opposition has applied opposition-like tactics against itself. The mode has been confrontation, rather than cooperation or even consultation.

The level of acrimony in the attacks make Utusan Malaysia and UMNO barbs look tame. This is particularly true in PAS, where the young conservative ulamas have forgotten the PAS culture of the years of Fadzil Noor  and are engaged in all-out war. PKR has followed suit, with DAP members also engaging in personal attacks. Only as fellow members in a family can, the attacks have gone after weaknesses and in anger, aimed to cause pain.

This focus on the negative has taken a life of its own, with attacks leading to counter-attacks and so forth. These have been ongoing for months tied to party contests for position. Pakatan has somehow forgotten that it opposes UMNO, as it has concentrated energies inwardly and destructively.

Clear Erosion of Trust among Pakatan Partners

PR SymbolNo Longer True?

It is clear that trust has eroded among Pakatan partners, and more polarised positions of laying blame and giving ultimatums have come to the fore. Words like ‘reject’, or ‘last chance’, and time periods of ‘24-hours’ and ‘immediately’ have narrowed opportunities to reach any compromise.

Issues and responses have been framed as all-or-nothing options, with decisions painted as the be-end-all for Pakatan. Problem-solving has taken a confrontational mode as issues are ‘forced’ onto others to reach a consensus that often is not a consensus at all but rather a bitter pill swallowed with bile and distrust.

Little reflection has taken the place of collective responsibility for the ongoing crisis, with frustrations, betrayals and disappointments overshadowing alternatives and more in-depth searches for common positions. For these parties long in opposition, confrontation is the easy route, for it is a familiar scene.

This situation is exacerbated when every position and decision-maker believes that he or she is right. It is much more difficult to opt for compromise in this confrontational mode. The sad reality is that confrontation politics has worsened the Selangor crisis. No one likes to be pressured, a sultan or otherwise. The current face-off appears to make the crisis follow the zero-sum path of Perak, rather than take a page from the lessons of Terengganu and Perlis.

In these crises, accommodation, mutual respect and compromise ruled. To use the strategy of forcing an issue to reach ‘consensus’ on the sultan, or any of the key players, is inherently vulnerable to breakdown.

Further, to take a crisis to the royalty or to the courts puts pressures on Malaysia’s political institutions and, more often than not, the result has undercut democracy, rather than strengthen it. It is foolhardy to think that weakened institutions can offer a fair hearing in the current political climate.

Need for exit strategies

What then are the options ahead in what appears to a political impasse? The challenge for Pakatan has always been the ability to accommodate minority views, and reach compromises.This is what distinguishes Pakatan from UMNO, the level of compromise needed to maintain inclusiveness. This has been difficult from the start, and the Selangor crisis showcases this further.

This crisis is primarily about personalities and, as such, there is room to manoeuvre and reach some sort of genuine consensus. If the current slate of candidates is not working, then Pakatan leaders need to go back to the drawing board on the candidate slate for the current leadership.

A crucial element in this regard is to tone  down the rhetoric and to refrain from taking positions that escalate conflict, rather than open the way for compromise. There needs to be a return to common ground, rather than points of division. This will be a test of Pakatan’s leadership.

If they fail, the voters will punish them. Ordinary Malaysians will not elect a coalition that cannot work together, least of all govern together. Along with changing the approach to the crisis, a crucial dimension is to provide viable face-saving exit strategies for key players. One of the lessons, of similar crises in UMNO, is the ability to find alternatives roles for different actors, to dampen acrimony and move forward.

While the opposition does not have the financial incentives of the BN, viewing the Selangor crisis narrowly has limited possible avenues. A more challenging element in the long-term viability of any solution involves a regeneration of leadership within both the parties most affected by the crisis – PKR and PAS.

Along with Khalid, Abdul Hadi Awang and Anwar Ibrahim could consider new roles in the opposition. The differences among top leaders will constrain the opposition to regenerate and resolve its differences.

Within PAS, Hadi is seen to have mismanaged GE13, with his decisions contributing to the loss of three states for PAS – Kedah, Terengganu and Perak. His ailing health has prevented him from bridging the differences within his own party. In fact, many of his decisions have worsened divisions within PAS, for Hadi is believed to have moved from being a bridge-builder to represent the conservative flank.

wan azizah 1

Wan Azizah–Menteri Besar in Waiting?

For PKR, the challenge is to move beyond being a personality-based party and to develop a core of younger, capable leaders with governing experience. The longer the Selangor crisis continues, the more younger members in the party are becoming embroiled in it. Rather than being a unifying figure, as he has been in the past, Anwar has become, for some in Pakatan, a focal point for division. Pakatan’s future will depend on these leaders taking on new roles or returning to more bridge-building positions.

bridget-welshCrises at the state level are common in Malaysian politics, and will continue to occur. UMNO has survived many of these and so will Pakatan. But the form Pakatan will take, and the standing it will have, will depend heavily on whether the players and parties stop fighting and remember the reasons they became one family, for which the number one reason was to serve Malaysians, not themselves.

BRIDGET WELSH is a Senior Research Associate at the Center for East Asia Democratic Studies of National Taiwan University and can be reached at

SNAP Elections could lead to chaos in Selangor, says Dr. Aziz Bari

August 23, 2014

SNAP Elections could lead to chaos in Selangor, says Dr. Aziz Bari

by Z Ar

HRH The Sultan of Selangor

The Selangor Sultan’s consent to dissolve the state assembly for snap polls would be an irreversible decision that may send the state hurtling into chaos, Professor Dr. Abdul Aziz Bari told a forum on the Mentri Besar crisis last night.

The regularly-cited constitutional expert expressed fears of possible attempts to trigger unrest that may allow Putrajaya to regain control of Selangor via an emergency. “If it is dissolved, we can do nothing … If this Monday His Highness decides to dissolve it, then it will be dissolved,” Aziz said of the state assembly.

Mentri Besar Tan Sri Khalid Ibrahim is set to meet the Selangor Sultan on Monday, according to sources familiar with the matter.

Khalid ib3

The Selangor University (Unisel) lecturer pointed out to a previous case of an unsuccessful challenge against the dissolution of the Sabah state assembly, to back his point.But he asserted that Khalid no longer has the authority to request for a dissolution of the assembly, as he can be considered a “caretaker” MB after a demonstrable loss of confidence in his administration among state lawmakers.

Citing the cases of the 1977 Kelantan Emergency and the 1966 Sarawak Constitutional Crisis, Aziz said an emergency might be declared in Selangor should chaos be instigated by agents provocateur. “I’m worried it would turn out like that, it created a chaos. Then this provides the ground for the authorities to do what they want,” Aziz claimed.

datuk stephen kalong ningkan

In the 1966 Sarawak crisis, the federal government declared a state of emergency to reinstate a new Chief minister after a High Court declared that the ouster of the previous Chief Minister Tan Sri Stephen Kalong Ningkan was illegal.

In the 1977 emergency, the Yang di-Pertuan Agong similarly declared emergency at the request of the federal government after street violence and a political impasse.The impasse and violence happened after Kelantan MB Datuk Muhammad Nasir requested consent from the Regent of Kelantan for a dissolution of state assembly, but was refused instead.

Other panelists in the forum last night was electoral watchdog Bersih 2.0 chairman Maria Chin Abdullah and Khairul Ariffin Mohd Munir, the Vice-president of Muslim Youth Movement of Malaysia (ABIM). It was moderated by Datuk Ambiga Sreenevasan of the coalition Negara-Ku.

Selangor was thrown into a leadership crisis after PKR sacked Khalid for refusing to yield his position to party president Datuk Seri Dr Wan Azizah Wan Ismail. Khalid responded by removing all hostile PKR and DAP officials from his executive council, leaving Selangor in the hands of an independent MP and four excos from PAS.

The Pakatan Rakyat parties banded together last Sunday to demand Khalid’s resignation, saying he no longer commanded the confidence of the state’s lawmakers.Khalid is refusing to acknowledge this until it is tested in a vote of no-confidence in the state assembly.

Discretion to Appoint new Menteri Besar remains with HRH Sultan of Selangor

August 20, 2014

Discretion to Appoint  new Menteri Besar remains with HRH Sultan of Selangor

by Din Merican

Sultan of Selangor and KhalidKhalid Ibrahim will have to abide by HRH Sultan’s Decision

HRH The Sultan of Selangor is expected to return from his scheduled holidays overseas sooner than expected ( 4 days earlier) to deal with the political crisis in his state, following the sacking of Tan Sri Khalid Ibrahim as Menteri Besar by his own party, PKR, which was endorsed by Pakatan Rakyat leadership in a last ditch effort to save their coalition from a break-up.

This Khalid saga has become a little complicated by Tan Sri Khalid’s complaint to the Registrar of Societies that he was not given a fair hearing by PKR’s Disciplinary Board.  At this point, we are not sure what action the Registrar would take, apart from calling the PKR Disciplinary Board to a meeting with him. But some observers have argued that Tan Sri Khalid should be given a hearing by a disinterested party, who, in this case, is the Registrar. They say  justice and fair play must be seen to be done.

The issue  before us is whether the discretion to appoint Dato Seri  Dr. Wan Azizah Wan Ismail is still with HRH Tuanku Sultan of Selangor. University of Malaya Law Professor Gurdial Singh Nijhar says that HRH has little choice but to appoint her as the new Menteri Besar since she commands the support of 43 out of the 56 members of Dewan Undangan Negeri (State Legislative Assembly) in accordance with Article 53(2)(a) of the Constitution of the State of Selangor. In truth, HRH has the option to ask for additional nominees before he makes up his mind. It cannot be ruled out since that is his Royal prerogative.

Was Dr. Wan Azizah given a fair chance as to Hadi to seek an audience with the HRH Sultan of Selangor ?

Was Dr. Wan Azizah given a fair chance as Hadi to seek an audience with the HRH Sultan of Selangor ?

Nijhar quotes the Federal Court decision in connection with the Nizar Jamaluddin v Zambry Abdul Kadir to support his view. It may be recalled in that case the Federal Court ruled that His Royal Highness (Al Marhum Tuanku Azlan Shah, Sultan of Perak) must appoint someone who has the command and confidence of the majority of the members of the Legislative Assembly.

wan azizah 1Pakatan Rakyat’s Sole Nominee

In this case, there was no doubt that Zambry (the new proposed MB) has the majority support of the members of the Legislative Assembly ( 31 members from 59 members of the Legislative Assembly). HRH The Sultan of Perak acted in accordance with the Constitution of the state.

Nijhar  adds that in the Selangor case, a far greater majority – 43 out of the 56 members of the Legislative Assembly – had made it clear to HRH Tuanku Sultan that Dr. Wan Azizah had their undoubted support.

Selangor Constitution

On the other hand, Universiti Malaysia Kelantan (UMK) Professor and Legal Advisor Professor Datuk A. Halim Sidek said the impending appointment of the Menteri Besar of Selangor by HRH Sultan Sharafuddin Idris Shah should be based on the 1959 Selangor State Constitution and two important articles. First, HRH has the right to appoint a member of the State Legislative Assembly who in his judgement enjoys the confidence of the majority of the assembly.  Second, the person must be a Malay and a Muslim. Professor A. Halim said this in reference to Article 51 (1) and based on Article 53 (2)(a); and Article 51 (2) subject to Article 53 (4) of the state constitution 1959.

Professor Datuk Halim is of the view that the discretion remains with HRH  The Sultan of Selangor and that view is endorsed by a respected lawyer, Tan Sri Abdul Aziz Abdul Rahman. I am not a legal person, but I think the discretion still remains with HRH  Tuanku who is the final arbiter and  who will be crucial to ending this political crisis which has been dragging on without a solution in sight.  HRH Tuanku’s decision to come home earlier than anticipated is most welcome.