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.


Anwar wants to be PM, what’s wrong with that?

August 20, 2014

Anwar wants to be PM, what’s wrong with that?

by Sakmongkol AK47

DSAIUndiminished Passion to lead Malaysia

My friends are saying, if we listen to Dr Mahathir, the Selangor political saga is all because of Anwar. Anwar wants to become PM and Selangor is his stepping stone. By controlling Selangor he can buy UMNO and others to cross over and join Pakatan.

If Anwar does that, it is nothing new. Buying his way out of most political predicaments is second nature to people like Najib himself. Monetary gratification is a most effective way to soften the most hardened of political opponents. Selangor should be used as a strategic vantage point if the objective is to capture Putrajaya from the more evil clutches of BN politicians.

So what is wrong with Anwar wanting to become PM and using Selangor in a more strategic way? Some other friends are saying- it’s true, the problem in Selangor is caused by Anwar. But the problems in Malaysia are all due to Dr Mahathir. Dr Mahathir can be faulted for almost everything bad in Malaysia while he is credited with many things that are right for Malaysia.

So, we should not be overly concerned with what Dr Mahathir says. He has an undying hatred for Anwar. The two will continue to battle until one dies. We ought to see any statements about Anwar from Dr Mahathir as personal assessments with little political significance.

Anwar Ibrahim has the right to want to become the PM of Malaysia. If more people accept him, there is nothing anyone else can do. Not even Dr Mahathir. Since the Khalid Ibrahim issue broke out, Anwar Ibrahim has been relatively quiet. Perhaps he has been issuing directives behind closed doors. Otherwise, his treatment of Khalid has been tangential- producing a subdued article about what is a leader without followers. Not quite a fire and brimstone article.

Otherwise, Anwar hasn’t criticised Khalid aggressively as did the others in PKR. Perhaps Anwar’s approach is a reflection of what Khalid has achieved in the more positive side.


Why is it wrong for Anwar to harbour the ambition to become PM? If he thinks he has the capacity to become the next PM and he has the support of Pakatan and the rakyat, Anwar ought to be voted in to become PM. I have said it many times, if Najib can become PM, anyone else can. You can look at the statement from any perspective you like.

If I can single out Anwar’s most important achievement, it is that he has bonded 3 different major political parties to share a common platform. Not even Tengku Razaleigh when he broke away from UMNO to form Semangat 46 could achieve what Anwar did.

With a shared platform, Anwar has managed to offer the rakyat an alternative to BN, itself made of up of several different political parties. So why should Anwar be seen a lesser man and therefore not fit to become PM? Malaysians owe him an eternal debt of gratitude for forging a common platform.

Anwar-UbahAnwar’s Legacy–Pakatan Rakyat for Change

The common platform is by no means absolute- it is rather a continuing work in progress as the different political parties strive to understand each other better. The recent Selangor saga showed clearly, the bond that exists between PAS- DAP and PKR must be strengthened with mutual respect, understanding and trust.

The only chink in Anwar’s armour is his alleged sexual misconduct, so depraved as the BN paints it out to be, that Anwar is morally unfit to become PM. His alleged recent most victim, Saiful Bukhari is suing Anwar for RM50 million. That makes Saiful the owner of the most expensive behind in Malaysia!

Now that morally depraved, is something you cannot conclusively proved. Since 1998, Anwar has been in and out of courts and even jailed for a number of years. The duration of his association with the courts, which makes Anwar the ‘other’ friend of the court, is now seen by the rakyat as being no ordinary prosecution but a persecution.

How can a man be persecuted for that long a time? Anwar’s endurance has even earned and gained admiration for that can only reflect a resolute and unshakeable spirit of the man. Any other man would have wilted a long time ago.

Indeed, rather than indicate a morally depraved being, Anwar’s endurance to withstand the longest persecution in Malaysian history has shown that Anwar has the moral fortitude. Surely such a man is more than qualified to become the PM of Malaysia.

How I personally feel about the man, is not significant at all. For that matter, to anyone else. Can and will he gain the trust of the rakyat is more important and far greater significant.

Symmetrical characters, parallel fates

August 19, 2014

Symmetrical characters, parallel fates

COMMENT by Terence Netto@www.malaysiakini.com

hype_najib1Now that the cat has sprung out of the bag and is dashing about among a wider public, the only news would be if anyone has died of shock from the revelation that Dr Mahathir Mohamad has withdrawn support for Prime Minister Najib Abdul Razak.

After months of premonitory sniping at the Premier by his satraps, notably A Kadir Jasin and Zainuddin Maidin, the man himself has come out in the open with a formal declaration of hostilities. There is no more cogent example of déjà vu nor self-parody than the producer himself reiterating he is about to re-start a familiar business – the demolition of a sitting PM.

A fortuitous benefit of this incipient extravaganza – to the federal opposition, Pakatan Rakyat – has been the confirmation that their self-destructive shenanigans in Selangor have furnished the opportunity to the premier demolisher of incumbent PMs to fix on this as the most opportune time for the unleashing of his decanal decapitation of national head honchos, not to mention a few deputies as well.

The wonder is that anyone at all, at this advanced juncture of their career trajectories, could be surprised at how the two protagonists, one of the drama about to start and the other of an already running one in Selangor, confirm a truism of classical Greece – that character is fate.

Character here is taken to mean the way in which a person confronts the things that happen to him, a number of which may come about as a consequence of his characteristic behavior. Fate is the sum of the decisive things that happen to a person, whether as a result of his characteristic behavior, or fortuitously, at the behest of some transcendent power.

That the characters of Mahathir and Anwar Ibrahim have fed off each other is by now a staple of Malaysia’s modern history. Malaysians are beginning to realise that the one’s career could not have been possible without the other and vice versa.

Truly, the reformasi movement would not have been catalyzed into something urgent and insistent without what Mahathir did to Anwar in September 1998 and how the latter reacted to the events.

Before September 1998, the movement was an inchoate yearning; after Anwar’s jailing and obloquy, reform became a national agenda. Mahathir would not have been able to prolong his tenancy of the PM’s office – 22 long years – without Anwar’s lieutenancy for 16 years of that tenure.

Certainly, the accretion of power to the office of the PM and UMNO President could not have taken place without Anwar’s tacit support, as heir presumptive to Mahathir.

The long running drama of their interaction since they first met in 1971 and their influence on the life of this nation over the last four decades is so pivotal that our history itself becomes confused with their own biographies which goes to illustrate historian Thomas Carlyle’s theory that humanity advances by means of these demi-gods or ‘heroes’.

Succumbing to the danger of self parody

But as the philosopher Ralph Waldo Emerson cautioned: “Every hero becomes a bore at last”: the two are presently in danger of inducing a yawn in arenas they once bestrode as giants. If it happens it would be due to their succumbing to the danger of self-parody each is tempted to flirt with, Mahathir more so.

Tun Dr. MahathirMen of destiny seek proof of their greatness by exercising a license to go too far, and as the fear grows that destiny may have placed a terrible joke on them, they double and redouble the stakes on the wheel of fortune. In this way they destroy themselves.

By claiming at the commencement of his unseat Najib campaign, after the fashion of Brutus, that it is not because he loves his leaders less but that he loves the people and country more, Mahathir is parodying what Anuar Musa, then a young delegate from Kelantan to the UMNO general assembly in 1983, who quoted from the Shakespearean play Juluis Caesar the words Brutus used before stabbing Caesar. The Roman emperor was surprised that a friend like Brutus could be part of squad of assassins with regicide in mind.

Anuar cited the quotation in the course of rhetorical flights faintly critical of Mahathir’s leadership of UMNO. Mahathir’s response was characteristically brusque. “Brutus stabbed Caesar” he reminded the UMNO delegates. In other words, back-stabbers are back-stabbers, their lofty motives notwithstanding.

If Mahathir unseats Najib, the wheel would have come full circle in his career: he began his ascent to the top of the greasy pole by destroying one UMNO President (Tunku Abdul Rahman) and is set to end his career by destroying the son of the man (Abdul Razak Hussein) who gave him the chance to rise after a display of Oedipal rage against the Tunku.

If PKR allows Anwar to convert the party into his personal fiefdom, his thrust to the top of the totem pole that began with his rebellion against nepotism, cronyism and corruption in 1998 would flirt with what could well be a fatal contradiction. Not for the first time in history would pivotal allies-turned-adversaries have symmetrical characters/parallel fates.

Pakatan Rakyat and Politics of the Possible

August 18, 2014

Pakatan Rakyat and Politics of the Possible

“Today Pakatan survived a formidable test of its cohesion; the coalition is here to stay. PAS has acquitted itself creditably well. While Pakatan’s well-wishers should not giddily swing to the conclusion that which unites Pakatan in opposition to UMNO-BN is stronger than that which divides it on issues like hudud, the conclusion is inescapable: the coalition’s components know in their marrow that the majority of Malaysia voters want political reform.”–Terence Netto, August 17, 2014

by Terence Netto@www.malaysiakini.com (08-17-14)

khalid-anwarThe Winner is Pakatan Rakyat

COMMENT:  It was a decision that showcased politics as the art of the possible. By backing both PKR President Dr Wan Azizah Wan Ismail and Deputy President Azmin Mohd Ali as candidates to replace Selangor Menteri Besar Khalid Ibrahim, PAS took a leaf out of an ace soccer dribbler’s handbook. In one swerve, the Islamic party shimmied past the accusation it is gender-biased it it had objected to Wan Azizah  as the sole Pakatan Rakyat candidate for Khalid’s post.

Then, in coupling Azmin’s name with Azizah’s in the list the party would back, PAS sashayed past the danger of a looming break-up of the opposition coalition, responsibility for which would have been placed squarely at its feet.

Rarely has a political player, faced with the daunting dilemma that the Islamic party has had to shoulder in recent weeks, been able to emerge from a frightful predicament with credibility intact. Not bad at all, for a party whose critics had direly speculated all of the past few weeks as caught in an obscurantist trap.

Now the ball is at the feet of PAS’ coalition allies, PKR and DAP. They must tread carefully.Any public grousing by them to the effect that serving up a double to the Sultan of Selangor  on whom should replace Khalid would display unseemly incoherence on the part of Pakatan would be seen as mealy mouthed.

PKR and DAP must leave well enough alone and as a united coalition request for an audience with the Selangor ruler to proffer the list.They must have the foresight to know that the crisis triggered by their attempt to remove the incumbent MB of Selangor has run its course and now requires a cessation.

Any attempt to whittle the list of replacement candidates commended by PAS runs the risk of protraction to the crisis.It was bad enough that the crisis broke out; it would be foolhardy to allow it to broil further.

The dire speculation that Pakatan would break up by dint of PAS deciding to persist with its backing of Khalid has been deftly left behind.

Spanner into the works

Three weeks ago, PAS President Abdul Hadi Awang had hurled a spanner into the works by backing Khalid to continue as MB of Selangor after a Pakatan presidential leadership council had endorsed Wan Azizah as Khalid’s replacement.

When Hadi’s obstruction was backed by the spiritual leader of PAS, Nik Aziz Nik Mat, it became obvious that Pakatan was up against the most severe challenge to its cohesion in its brief six-year history.

A week later the powerful PAS syura council reinforced the danger of an imminent break-up to Pakatan by throwing its support behind Khalid. Matters were not helped in that a recalcitrant Khalid, in contravention of the sage advice attributed to American President Theodore Roosevelt that, in statecraft, one should talk softly but carry a big stick, brandished a hefty cane and coupled that with rash talk.

Needless to say, this produced a sorry spectacle that undermined public confidence in Pakatan more than anything destructive that UMNO-BN had been able to do to its rivals since March 2008 when the powers-that-be realised that they were no longer monarchs of the parliamentary survey.

As an alternative to the UMNO-BN, in the past several weeks Pakatan was wobbling in the quicksand of intra-coalition dissension and flagrant defiance by a rebellious luminary in its leadership cohort. But seriously, a political coalition, particularly one of disparate ideologies like Pakatan’s, is only a strong as recurrent tests of cohesion have seen it survive.

Today Pakatan survived a formidable test of its cohesion; the coalition is here to stay. PAS has acquitted itself creditably well. While Pakatan’s well-wishers should not giddily swing to the conclusion that  which unites Pakatan in opposition to UMNO-BN is stronger than that which divides it on issues like hudud, the conclusion is inescapable: the coalition’s components know in their marrow that the majority of Malaysian voters want political reform.

This reform is better accomplished if power is transferred from one coalition (UMNO-BN) to its rival (Pakatan), rather than if assayed by existing holders, who slightly shuffle this power among themselves.Malaysian democracy has renewed its lease on life and its promise of reform.

Selangor crisis today

10.19am: An expected stand-off outside the PAS HQ fizzles after the Black Ribbon campaign cancels its protest as the PAS central committee convenes a long awaited meeting.

11.41am: Embattled Selangor MB Abdul Khalid Ibrahim’s top strategist Faekah Husin likened PKR’s accusation against her boss to a ‘hatchet job’ book on Anwar Ibrahim in 1998.

12.28pm: PAS central committee unanimously withdraws support for Khalid. The party nominates PKR president Dr Wan Azizah Wan Ismail and her deputy Azmin Ali as replacements.

12.58pm: Azmin is tight-lipped about his sudden nomination and says to pray for the best. PKR secretary-general Saifuddin Nasution insists that Wan Azizah is the sole candidate for MB as previously decided by PKR.

2pm: Khalid says he accepts PAS’ decision and will seek an audience with the Selangor Sultan on how to proceed.

2.08pm: PKR Youth publicly endorses PAS’ proposal for Azmin to be the alternative candidate for Menteri Besar, just hours before PKR’s leadership meeting.

3pm: UMNO Youth chief Khairy Jamaluddin mocks Pakatan Rakyat, claiming PAS’ additional nomination of Azmin was a veiled stab at Anwar and PKR.

6pm: Sources tells Malaysiakini that PKR decided to stick with Wan Azizah over Azmin after more than two hours of deliberation by its leaders in Subang Jaya.

7.29pm: Pakatan, which held its meeting immediately after PKR’s, confirms it will only propose Wan Azizah as menteri besar after discussing for around an hour.

8.24pm: Azmin says he will comply with PKR’s decision to propose Wan Azizah as Menteri Besar and voices support for his boss despite his own nomination.

Khalid Ibrahim’s Disgraceful Conduct is his legacy

August 15, 2014

Khalid Ibrahim’s Disgraceful Conduct  is his legacy

by Josh Hong@www.malaysiakini.com


The political saga of Parti Keadilan Rakyat (PKR) has been dragging on for far too long. Granted, it was triggered by power struggle within the party, but what started as an internal affair has now snowballed into a constitutional crisis involving the  Sultan of Selangor.

Malaysia practices a parliamentary system both at the state and the federal levels. It means that the Prime Minister, Chief Ministers and Menteri Besars must command the support and confidence of the Dewan Rakyat or the state assembly in order to remain in the job, and the role of the rulers is largely ceremonial as is the case with other constitutional monarchies such as the United Kingdom, Japan, New Zealand and Australia.

Count not Thailand, where parliamentary democracy with a figurehead has again slipped into a coma. This is not to say the Sultan or the Yang di-Pertuan Agong has no power whatsoever in terms of forming a government. Far from it. The Ruler is duty-bound to ensure a government can function effectively and efficiently, with the head of government being supported by the Dewan Rakyat or the state assembly. When this is not the case, the ruler ought to instruct the speaker to convene a special sitting on a vote of confidence, or the lack thereof.

As in other constitutional monarchies, the ruler in exercising his powers ought to be sensitive to the feelings of the members of the legislative assembly. Hence, when 30 of the legislators came out in support of Wan Azizah Wan Ismail, it became clear that Khalid Ibrahim had lost the confidence of the Selangor assembly.

While it was Khalid’s prerogative to sack the six state executive councilors as rightly pointed out by Professor Abdul Aziz Bari, at issue is whether Khalid was still a legitimate Menteri Besar at the time when the dismissals were announced.

I do not dismiss there may have been certain grievances on the part of Khalid in how the PKR leadership has treated him. However, what is now at stake is our constitutional monarchy that has been severely tested since 2008. Had Khalid chosen to step down in dignity and to prepare for a political comeback at the grassroots level, he could have safeguarded the royalty as well as the spirit of democracy.

Dragging the monarch into the show

HRH The Sultan of SelangorMonarchy is clearly part of Malaysia’s state institutions but it is also one that must take into consideration common sense and public opinion. We don’t just exhaust all our resources for an election and, after casting their vote, people are made to realise painfully that the man who has lost support remains in power by dragging the monarch into the show.

It is utterly ludicrous for some to liken Khalid’s situation now to that of Anwar Ibrahim back in 1998. In fact, the contrary is true. Khalid is behaving exactly like Mahathir Mohamad by abusing his executive powers just to stay afloat. Worse, he has defied the tradition by refusing to bow out gracefully despite losing more than half of the state assembly’s support, counting on time and the sultan to extend his shelf life.

Thatcher and BlairWhen Margaret Thatcher (left with Tony Blair) came to terms with the agony of her no longer enjoying the confidence of her own party in November 1990, she went to see the Queen not to seek support, but to resign her post as Britain’s Prime Minister. In Australia, both Kevin Rudd and Julia Gillard did the same in a most honourable fashion so that the sanctity of constitutional monarchy as well as parliamentary democracy could be preserved.

Then again, Malaysia is so different that, in the name of religion, race and royalty, a power-crazy politician can disregard the well-established institutions and principles in pursuit of personal gains.

Khalid has never impressed me, but I used to prefer him to the corrupt-to-the-core UMNO warlords like Khir Toyo. If anything, I had become more and more sceptical of his democratic credentials after his failure to rein in the Selangor Islamic Affairs Department over the seizure of the Bibles and his extraordinarily pro-UMNO stance on the Kidex project.

With the benefit of hindsight, one can safely say Khalid had acted in cahoots with UMNO over these two controversies.Whatever ‘achievements’ Khalid may have made over the past six years, he has destroyed them all with his intransigence and recalcitrance (a word made famous by, alas, Mahathir!). from now on, he will be best remembered as yet another infamous Menteri Besar who has contributed substantively to the demise of constitutional monarchy and parliamentary democracy in Selangor, a legacy that is far more damaging than those by any of his predecessors.

PAS to discuss ‘Azizah for MB’ tonight

August 14, 2014

PAS to discuss ‘Azizah for MB’ tonight


I will be very disappointed if HRH The Sultan of Selangor plays politics like in the case of Perak with the Late Tuanku Sultan Azlan Shah. He should be well advised to stay above politics and listen to the voices of the people and act accordingly. Selangor can’t be in a state of political paralysis indefinitely. There must closure to this Khalid Ibrahim’s irresponsible behaviour.

PAS too must act fast and decide where it stands. It must choose to be with the people or  side with Khalid Ibrahim. Dr. Wan Azizah is PKR’s choice. PAS must respect PKR’s nominee. The fact that she is Anwar’s wife, or a woman, should not be an issue. –Din Merican

by Abdul Rahim Sabri@www.malaysiakini.com

wan azizah 1PAS political bureau will discuss several hot topics regarding the Selangor Menteri Besar crisis, including whether Dr Wan Azizah Wan Ismail is capable to replace incumbent Abdul Khalid Ibrahim who had been sacked by PKR on Saturday.

Besides this, the Islamic party will also discuss the party’s stand on Khalid and study alternative candidates besides the PKR President. The bureau will also discuss if PAS should leave Pakatan Rakyat and the recent developments of its two assembly persons who openly support Wan Azizah earlier today.

Sources told Malaysiakini that tonight’s meeting is meant to come up with a plan before it is tabled before the party’s central committee meeting, expected on Sunday. “(A decision by the bureau) is not considered as final.It is directed to lay out the party’s plan for the central committee meeting,” said a party source.

The bureau’s meeting at the PAS headquarters in Kuala Lumpur is expected to be chaired by party President Abdul Hadi Awang or his Deputy Mohamad Sabu at 9pm tonight.

Wan Azizah an inept Leader?

Political observers see a possible clash between the pro-ulama and Erdogan factions with both sides said to be of equal strength in terms of numbers. Those expected at the meeting include Mohamad, Secretary-General Mustafa Ali, Nasrudin Hassan, Nik Abduh Nik Aziz, Hanipa Maidin and the three Vice-Presidents Tuan Ibrahim Tuan Man, Salahuddin Ayub and Husam Musa.

The Erdogan group, whose leaning is towards Pakatan Rakyat, is likely to reject moves by the pro-ulama faction who is said to be intent for PAS to leave the opposition front. Sources told Malaysiakini that there are increasing agitations by the pro-ulama faction to leave Pakatan, after the political bureau meeting was postponed twice before this.

The meeting tonight is seen as an extension of what had been suggested in the social media by PAS think-tank research director Zuhdi Marzuki  over various possible scenarios in Selangor.

“I see the proposal (to leave Pakatan) is illogical. It is a minority view or seen as a big joke. When the people of various races accepted Pakatan, we decide to reject it now,” said the source.

Alternative Candidate

Wan Azizah’s capabilities to replace Khalid would also be hotly debated by the bureau, following recent developments which sees the Palace rejecting her request for an audience with Sultan Sharafuddin Idris Shah. Another matter hampering Wan Azizah is what is seen as her ineffective leadership as PKR President, which may provide further impetus to reject her.

Sources told Malaysiakini that following the palace refusal, Abdul Hadi had asked PKR de facto leader and her husband Anwar Ibrahim to consider other candidates when the duo met in Kuala Terengganu recently.

Azmin-Ali-Khalid-Ibrahim PAS is expected to discuss the other candidates besides Azizah and this includes PKR Deputy President Azmin Ali. “PAS have not discussed the notion of having its assembly person from PAS to be Menteri Besar. The party respects this is convention in Pakatan (that the MB should be from PKR). There is no issue of a menteri besar coming from PAS,” the source said.

The Anwar-Khalid aka Punch and Judy Show

August 13, 2014

The Anwar-Khalid aka Punch and Judy Show

by Zaid Ibrahim (08-12-14)


Anwar and KhalidThe wonderful thing about democracy (at least in its ideal form) is how both sides of the political divide can rely on established rules and practices when resolving matters of public interest. Clear-cut rules are laid out, which apply to all and sundry. In this way, conflicts can hopefully be resolved peacefully and the people in charge of government can then focus on administering the state or country.

A leader’s duty is to put the real interests of the people at the top of the list of priorities, not get mired in endless acrimony and politicking. But in the real world called Selangor, reality is proving to be something else.

Let’s look at the situation in Selangor. Dato’ Seri Anwar Ibrahim and his allies realised they did notDSAI have the right number of state assemblymen to pass a resolution in the State Assembly to remove Tan Sri Khalid Ibrahim as Menteri Besar. They should have admitted to the people that they had made a silly mistake in launching the infamous Kajang Move (which they proceeded with even though they knew there was no consensus within the Pakatan Rakyat on this issue). They should have reached out for peace talks with Khalid.

Instead, to hide their irresponsibility, they launched personal attacks against him which had not been heard before. They wanted this war of attrition and public shaming to wear him down into submission. Surely this is not the moral and mature politics that PKR President Datin Seri Dr Wan Azizah Wan Ismail spoke about the other day—this is just the opposite. But this is typical of Anwar’s and Rafizi Rahim’s style of politics, which has attracted much support from DAP lately.

They also asked Pakatan’s Selangor state assemblymen to show their hands on this issue of removing Khalid. Well, if that’s a serious proposition then convene a sitting of the Assembly with a no confidence motion, and we will all then know who will support it and who will not. Why go around reprimanding the state assemblymen for not showing their hands when none have yet been asked to do so formally? Why is the Pakatan making silly noises and not explaining the real situation to the people?

In trying to give legitimacy to his rule Khalid then resorted to the Palace—as most Malaysian politicians do when in distress—saying the Sultan wanted him to continue in his post. By this reasoning, an MB can stay on forever as long as the Sultan wants him there, regardless of whether he has the support of the State Assembly. Surely that is not democracy in the 21st century, but the kind of politics more suited for the bygone days of the Caliphate.

Khalid should know that his position in the State Assembly depends on how much support he can muster from the ADUNs, and the way to demonstrate that support to the public is to call for a vote of confidence. There is no need to seek the grace and permission of the Sultan if he does indeed have the support. The honourable thing for him to do is not to latch on to the Palace, but to seek a resolution for a vote of confidence in him from the Assembly. In this way, the people of Selangor can know for sure he has their support. If he fails, then he steps down. If he succeeds, then he should ask seek audience with the Sultan to form a new state government. so that a new team of politicians can work with him in the interests of the state.

The problem with people like Anwar and Khalid is this: they forget that rules and constitutional practices exist to serve the people, and that the people’s mandate is sacrosanct. Where the mandate is uncertain—especially when both sides claim to represent the people’s wishes—then the proper thing to do is to seek a fresh election.

The rules are not there for the purpose of prolonging political combat. Being technically correct in the application of rules that only serve their political position is not good governance. If Anwar had more respect for the views of the people of Selangor—and his own allies in the Pakatan for that matter—he would not have tried to remove Khalid mid-term when the mandate to govern was given just recently in the 13th General Election. If removing Khalid is central to the Pakatan’s political life, then ask PAS to leave the Pakatan for not agreeing with its coalition partners. Why prolong this senseless infighting?

khalid-ibrahimKhalid too should be a gentleman. He should be brave enough to ask for a vote of confidence—that’s where legitimacy is found. Do not rush to the Istana for help, because ultimately, a leader can only claim legitimacy from the people. The other kind of legitimacy is the feudal kind, which we do not need to embrace as a democracy.

Both Khalid and Anwar need to stop the mud-slinging and end this feud immediately. The best recourse for all parties is for both sides to seek the dissolution of the Assembly from the Sultan and seek a fresh mandate from the people. Both men’s claim to represent the people’s interests is hollow at best, unless they are prepared to be judged for their actions. It’s time we move on and find a satisfactory solution to this mess, one that does not disregard the wishes of the electorate.

PAS Politics is the Art of the Possible with Aspirin

August 13, 2014

PAS Politics is the Art of the Possible with Aspirin

by Terence Netto (received by e-mail)

HadiBy sacking recalcitrant Tan Sri Khalid Ibrahim at the weekend, PKR prevented the crisis affecting the Selangor Menteri Besar’s office from spiraling downward and provided their coalition partner PAS room in which to evade the horns of a frightful dilemma.

Seldom in politics can a move taken in the heat of a protracted crisis yield benefits that eased the effects of a crisis in more than one part of the afflicted zone. Not for nothing is it said about politics that it is the art of the possible.

By choosing to expel Khalid after PKR’s disciplinary committee briefly jousted with the recalcitrant MB in the open, the party showed it could take the bit between the teeth and through that manoeuvre enabled coalition ally, PAS, space to take itself off a collision course the latter had been set on. Thus one aspirin brought relief to two headaches.

Pakatan Rakyat in Selangor had been from the beginning of this year reeling from the effects of Khalid’s spectacle-causing and public confidence-jarring dodging of what was in store for him: his replacement as chief minister of Malaysia’s richest state by a candidate from his own party.

Essentially, the party could no longer tolerate his non-consultative style in decision-making. This style was troubling from the very beginning of his tenancy in March 2008 and despite appeals to him to abandon it and, later, open criticism when he persisted in being heedless, Khalid carried on regardless in an increasingly brazen display no political party could allow if it wanted to prosper.

When a host of niggling issues over his financial entanglement with Bank Islam, his opaque handling of Selangor’s water rights, his apparent approval of the construction of a tolled highway in contravention of an election promise, his going ahead with sharp pay rises for elected state executives, and the upping of business license fees, rose to fever pitch, PKR decided that enough was enough.

In late July, the party’s central leadership council met and decided that its President Datin Seri Dr Wan Azizah Wan Ismail would replace Khalid. The party then obtained the concurrence of coalition partners, DAP and PAS, secured at a presidential leadership council meeting, to the decision to replace Khalid with Wan Azizah. Then, PKR duly asked Khalid to resign.

He refused to budge. He was encouraged in his obduracy by PAS. The Islamic party had acquiesced in the decision to remove Khalid at the Pakatan presidential leadership meeting but its President Datuk Seri Abdul Hadi Awang was not present on the occasion. Days later Hadi publicly announced he was against the removal of Khalid. He said the man had not done anything to justify his removal as MB. The party’s spiritual leader, Nik Aziz Nik Mat, seconded Hadi’s opinion. That meant that not only PAS was in a quandary but the rest of Pakatan was also firmly wedged between a stone and a hard place.

Meanwhile, Khalid continued to comport himself like he did not need to keep the support of his party to stay on as MB. Merely through the tacit support of UMNO, the opposition in the Selangor state assembly, and the open backing of PAS, Khalid signaled he would see out his term of office. That’s when the PKR disciplinary panel intervened to call him to order and when he declined to come to heel, sacked him post haste.


The expulsion left Khalid in limbo and allowed PAS the latitude to high tail Hadi’s retraction of      his party’s earlier support for the move to remove Khalid out of a blast prone area. This area is the one in which the literalists and non-literalists in PAS are apt to lock horns. Islamists are averse to such labels as ‘liberals’ and ‘conservatives’, in addition to finding the term ‘secular’ repugnant. Hence terms like literalists and non-literalists must be press ganged into service as a description of the divide between the ulamak and the professionals in PAS.The former hew to a literal interpretation of their scriptural texts, the latter are apt to prefer interpretive sensibility to textual rigidity.

Nik Aziz with AnwarOn practically all issues that confront the party, Pakatan and the nation, this divide between literalists and non-literalists in PAS accounts for their differing stances. Ditto the Khalid Ibrahim issue. The literalists think he has done nothing wrong; the non-literalists view as dubious the deal he worked out with Bank Islam which was suing him on the matter of his borrowings from the bank to finance his purchase of Guthrie shares a long time ago.

The bank was suing him for the reported sum of RM66 million. On behalf of Selangor, Khalid signed a water agreement that had long been held up between Selangor and the Federal government about the time when his entanglement with Bank Islam was withdrawn from litigation. Confidentiality protocols conspire to keep the details of his deal with Bank Islam under wraps. The ulamas of PAS care little for such nuances.

They desire a world where good and evil are clearly distinguished. But worldly reality is gray and it takes a sharply appraising intelligence to distinguish a lesser shade from a darker hue. Unwilling to grapple with the ever-changing nature of problems, the ulamas of PAS resort to the unchanging nature of doctrinaire solutions — taken from Islamic scripture — as panacea for society’s ills. This is why they insist on the implementation of hudud in Kelantan and they support Khalid because, overtly, he has done nothing wrong.

But if it is true that Khalid has, on the matter of what he owes Bank Islam for the loan to finance his purchase of shares in Guthrie, had traded the Selangor people’s interests in their water assets and in non-tolled roads for reduced payment to the bank, he has done something that is profoundly wrong.

Khalid has to come clean for it is at the crux of the issue of whether he is sinned against in the matter of his party wanting him out as Selangor MB or he is sinning. Confidentiality laws protect him from saying anything about his deal with Bank Islam but the higher mandate of transparency to which Pakatan Rakyat holds itself, makes it imperative that he be candid. Khalid cannot hide behind confidentially protocols just as PAS can no longer hide the divide between its literalists and its non-literalists.

The Malaysian Insider Looks at the Issues around The KI Saga

August 12, 2014

OPINION: The Malaysian Insider Looks at the Issues around The KI Saga

PKR’s move to remove Tan Sri Abdul Khalid Ibrahim as the Menteri Besar of Selangor seems to have been going on forever.

But make no mistake, this is not just some personnel change – the drama in Selangor has national consequences and even touches on the kind of country we desire. The Malaysian Insider looks at some of the issues raised by the saga in Selangor.

1) First in the World

Khalid ib3

Take a bow, Khalid. You are officially a one-of-a-kind politician. You have been sacked from your political party, are unwanted by two of the three component parties in Pakatan Rakyat, do not seem to enjoy the support of the State Exco but yet believe that you should remain as the Menteri Besar. The only chaps who are wholeheartedly supporting you belong to UMNO-Barisan Nasional. Surely that is telling.

2) Going overseas, now?

The Royals across the country love to say how they have the interests of the rakyat at heart and all that other mushy stuff.If this is a fact and not some self-serving statement, then the Sultan of Selangor should postpone his trip overseas and ensure that the Selangor crisis is resolved according to the Law and in a transparent fashion.

HRH The Sultan of SelangorHas Khalid misled HRH Sultan of Selangor?

The Malaysian Insider today reported that PKR has 32 signed statutory declarations from state assemblymen who want Khalid removed. That’s 32 out of 43 Pakatan Rakyat representatives, a clear majority.

Yesterday, Khalid said he had the backing of the majority. Someone is clearly lying. The Law as laid down by the Federal Court clearly states that there is no need to test the fitness of an MB on the state assembly floor and that what is needed is proof that he has lost the support of the majority.

Khalid’s assertion in the Palace will not do. The Perak Royal household is still reeling from the power grab because the public felt that justice and fairness were not served in that sorry episode. There will forever remain an asterisk next to the name of the Perak Royal Household because of that power grab.

The Sultan of Selangor should do everything to ensure fair play in this crisis. A good starting point is to postpone his overseas trip and find out who really has the support of the Assembly.

3) PAS must decide

Aziz and Hadi ShowIt’s The Aziz-Hadi Show now–Balik Kampong

Whether Khalid stays or finally steps down as MB, the dynamics in Pakatan Rakyat (PR) have changed – for good. And that is a good thing. There have been too many compromises to make this coalition of PKR, DAP and PAS work. Some fundamental differences have been put on the back burner for too long and these have come back to bite PR.

Chief among these differences is the notion of equality. In coalition politics, all parties must have one vote and that vote must have equal strength vis-a-vis other partners. So if PKR and DAP decide on a course of action, PAS, despite its misgivings, must concede to the majority view. Similarly, if PKR and PAS agree on a seat allocation, then DAP must go along with the majority view.

Unfortunately, the hardliners in PAS, led by Party President Datuk Seri Abdul Hadi Awang, seem to believe that the Islamist party’s vote carries more power. This is akin to the practice in Barisan Nasional where what UMNO says, goes.

There is also some queasiness in PAS about women leaders and standing up for the rights of non-Muslims and non-Malays. To be fair, it remains unclear if this is the majority view in PAS or the position of Hadi and other hardliners.

What is clear is that the PAS party elections next year will see a battle royale between the clerics and the professional class for the soul of the party. If Hadi and gang prevail, it is unlikely that Pakatan Rakyat will be a three-party coalition.

This development will be crushing news for Malaysians who want the two-party system to be entrenched. But surely it is preferable that parties with different ideas about right and wrong, race relations and gender acknowledge these yawning gaps and go their separate ways.

4) Leadership

Kajang MoveKajang Move is one Big Mess

PKR has made a mess of its Kajang Move. Obviously it has not indicated clearly enough the entire saga of the Kajang by-election, Datuk Seri Anwar Ibrahim’s purported nomination, followed by his wife Datuk Seri Dr Wan Azizah Wan Ismail, and its implications for Khalid and the Selangor PKR. Or for that matter, its allies in Pakatan Rakyat.

How can its strategy to strengthen the Selangor Pakatan Rakyat government have led to the brewing saga today – a Menteri Besar sacked from his party and without apparent support from the coalition that put him in office?

PKR keeps saying it is a party that believes in justice and transparency, but its leadership has a funny way of expressing those ideals. The Selangor saga will cost the party in the next general elections.

Because now it has a track record of a party that appears to lurch from crisis to crisis, some apparently self-inflicted. That does not augur well for a party that believes it can do a better job of running the country than its political rivals.

Where To, Khalid Ibrahim?

July 12, 2014

Where To, Khalid Ibrahim?

by Ahmad A. Talib @www.nst.com.my (08-10-14)

khalid-ibrahimA Recalcitrant and Party Upstart

AND so, the much-anticipated decision by PKR to sack Tan Sri Abdul Khalid Ibrahim from the party took place on August 9. Embattled and caught in the party’s internal political strife, Khalid has now found himself in a rare and exclusive political position. He is without a party.

Khalid has 14 days to appeal against the decision by the party’s disciplinary committee. But insiders and observers believe that the appeal will just be a formality. After 14 days, Khalid’s final fate within PKR will be known.

wan azizah 1Successor Menteri Besar In Waiting

The Pakatan alliance has been embroiled in an intra-party slinging match, which saw the Menteri Besar being hemmed from many sides to get him to vacate the coveted post. Datuk Seri Dr Wan Azizah Wan Ismail (above) has been touted as Khalid’s successor, though this has yet to materialise at this point in time.

Khalid’s situation is prime material for students of political science. It is not every day that a sitting Menteri Besar finds himself ditched by the very party that had put up his name in the first place. Khalid is still Menteri Besar until and unless he is chased out from office by the Head of State, that is, HRH Sultan of Selangor.

Constitutional lawyers had begun huddling in the last few days, discussing various scenarios. Khalid is without a party. Would Khalid join another party to save his position? Would other wakil rakyat from Pakatan side with him and throw their weight behind other components in Pakatan?

Khalid is not without supporters within and outside his party. Several senior Pas leaders are siding with Khalid, which could have emboldened him in his political tai-chi within PKR.

To many people, Khalid doesn’t have the cutting of a street-wise politician.He is more of a corporate person. But, his political opponents within the party have found him to be a tougher nut to crack.

PKR is of the view that Khalid is no longer a party asset. In fact, insiders say party leaders have found Khalid to be a recalcitrant, who doesn’t act in the overall interest of the party. As it is now obvious, Khalid is very much his own man.

Laymen in Selangor will now wait to see what other twists and turns there will be in Selangor’s political landscape. In a wider scope, political observers will see whether there will be any other serious political fallouts, following this latest turn of events. As in any other political kickboxing, things won’t be the same in Selangor after this.Khalid’s situation can be a game-changer in Selangor politics, within and outside Pakatan.


End of the Road for PAS-PKR Cooperation?

August 11, 2014

End of the Road for PAS-PKR cooperation?

by Nik Imran Abdullah @www,nst.com.my

AS events in Selangor steadily go on a downward spiral, former Kelantan Menteri Besar Datuk Nik Abdul Aziz Nik Mat has again found a reason to flex his political muscle across the peninsula. Whether his voice has much influence in the high-stakes political conflict in Selangor is anybody’s guess.

Nik Aziz with Anwar

From one standpoint, there is seemingly a remote link for him to join in the fray as the leadership struggle is only confined to PKR in Selangor. But as the PAS Spiritual Adviser presiding over the party’s Majlis Syura, or PAS Consultative Council, his stand still merits deeper scrutiny by Selangor PAS leaders who are directly affected by the crisis.

However, the stunning rejection by PKR de facto leader Datuk Seri Anwar Ibrahim of the stand taken by the council put paid to any fancy ideas Pas may have had in dictating the political future in Selangor.

Anwar’s refusal to let the council interfere in his move to install the new Menteri Besar in Selangor is clearly a snub to PAS as one of the allies in Pakatan. In a crude way, PAS, and by extension Nik Aziz, was told to just mind its own business.

For a party with decades of struggle in the country, such a rebuff from an ally may have a deep cut on Nik Aziz’s credibility and his relations with Anwar, who both draw political strength from one another for their party’s interests.

Some wise guys may want to believe the political heat will subside and the crisis will blow over and the two leaders will come around to shake hands again for another crack at national political power. One thing for certain is that they will have an extremely awkward moment to see eye to eye on a personal level afterwards even before they can say sorry to each other and move on.

Their divergent stands are clear as day even to the casual observers, as Nik Aziz is all for Tan Sri Abdul Khalid Ibrahim keeping the MB’s post while Anwar is doing everything he can to unseat him. With Khalid being sacked from PKR now, the conflict will be anything but rosy in the days ahead if there is no easing of their positions on the issue.

Will Nik Aziz still support a party-less Khalid, who technically has no links now to the common struggle of Pakatan, the very basis of Pas and PKR cooperation? PAS and PKR will now be at the crossroads and may have to reevaluate their political partnerships, if they had not already been calculating their next moves.

The biggest question is not who will be the next Selangor MB now as much as whether PAS and PKR will have the necessary willpower to cross the Rubicon by going their separate ways if their conflicting views remain.

It may now be left to the oversized egos of the main players from either party, Nik Aziz included, whether there is any advantage in breaking up their alliance and forego their ambitious plan of winning the federal power.

Nik Aziz may be seeing a slow decline in his health in recent years but it is unlikely he will forget his decades in the position of power before in proving his worth as an influential politician once again. Backpedalling on his part will bruise his stature, while holding on to his current stand will likely cost the partnership with Anwar and PKR.

The coming days will prove crucial to either him and PAS just  as much as PKR is risking losing one of its allies in Pakatan if  they choose not to have any compromise. Seemingly, the Khalid issue may well be the breaking point for PAS and PKR as partners in the opposition pact with both parties are pulling the strings from both ends.

They may have various options to cool things off, but both Nik Aziz and Anwar have spoken too soon on how things should be done that they now have only themselves to blame for Pakatan’s breakdown. Or, have both parties finally  come to some sense about the futility of their struggles to form the Federal Government that keeping Pakatan together is not that worthy?

Whatever the case, the next few days will be more than interesting to watch as the stakes are high in Selangor.

Khalid Ibrahim sacked by PKR

August 9, 2014


Khalid Ibrahim sacked by PKR

by Koh Jun Lin@www.malaysiakini.com

Anwar and KhalidKhalid brought to his senses

The PKR leadership council today sacked Selangor Menteri Besar Abdul Khalid Ibrahim from the party for his refusal to step down as the state’s Chief Executive Officer.

The move, which is bound to strain relations with coalition ally PAS, came after weeks of teetering as PKR held back from taking decisive action due to reservations expressed by its Islamic partner. According to a party source, the unanimous decision was made after almost three hours of deliberation which began at 3 p.m. at the PKR headquarters in Petaling Jaya.

The meeting was attended by all members of the party’s leadership council with one notable absentee – Khalid. On Tuesday, the PKR disciplinary committee issued Khalid with a show-cause letter ordering him to explain his defiance of the party’s instructions to quit his post as Menteri Besar.

Khalid was also called to attend a disciplinary committee hearing yesterday to explain several other issues, such as Selangor’s water restructuring exercise and hikes in business licence fees. In response, Khalid claimed that the show-cause letter was faulty and said the disciplinary board’s demands were both “unreasonable and suspicious“.

“As a party fighting for justice for all, I should also be given a real chance, not just a mirage, to answer to the allegations of my wrongdoing. Unfortunately, the actions of YB Datuk (Tan Kee Kwong, Disciplinary Board Chairperson) and the Disciplinary Board up until now are highly suspect,” he said, pointing to the short notice of the hearing and asked for the meeting to be postponed to August 15.

The Disciplinary Board meeting nevertheless went ahead yesterday without Khalid’s presence, and the leadership council is to decide on its findings and recommendations this afternoon.

Khalid Ibrahim: A Protagonist, or a Pawn in Pakatan Politics

August 6, 2014

Khalid Ibrahim:  A Protagonist, or a Pawn in Pakatan Politics

by Din Merican

Anwar and Khalid

I have refrained from making direct criticisms of Khalid Ibrahim since he became the Menteri Besar of Selangor in 2008. I have always thought of him as a very capable  and hardworking technocrat, given his extensive commercial and management experience as an investment banker,  the CEO of the Permodalan Nasional Berhad under the guidance of the late Tun Ismail Bin Mohamed Ali, and  Executive  Chairman and shareholder of Guthrie Corporation.

I also worked with him in 2007-2008 when he was PKR’s Secretary-General. I often spent time, even late into the night, on the phone talking to him about his campaign strategies for the 2008 General Elections, and other party matters. I also attended election rallies where he was a keynote  speaker.The one he gave on good governance and Pakatan’s socio- economic policies at Sungai Lallang, not far from Sungei Patani, Kedah,  had a strong  and lasting impression on me.

I also saw how he handled with considerable skill and patience the  delicate negotiations on allocation of seats with PAS and DAP leadership. He showed me that he was a competent, dedicated and skilful negotiator. Here is a protagonist for change, I said to myself then.

When he was chosen to be Pakatan’s Menteri Besar of Selangor, I had no doubt that he would be able to handle the administration of the state with distinction, but I was concerned whether or not he had the political skills to be an effective Menteri Besar as there was more to the job than  technical competence. it required collegial leadership and public and stakeholder relations. I expressed my reservations in private to Dato’ Seri Anwar Ibrahim who assured me that Khalid was the best man for the job, given his track record. That was that. I accepted Anwar’s decision.

wan azizah 1A Team Player and Devoted PKR Person

After 6 years at the job, Khalid is being rejected by his own party and so Anwar initiated the Kajang Move to replace him. Anwar himself was initially the candidate for the Kajang by-elections. But when that  plan was blocked on legal grounds, Dr. Wan Azizah (above) replaced him and she won handsomely. Now she is the PKR nominee to succeed Khalid Ibrahim. We can argue whether or not she is a good choice. But I believe she  will not disappoint her party and Pakatan Rakyat. She is a team player, a people-centered politician, and a devoted PKR person. Recall her steady and steadfast leadership of PKR during Anwar’s Sungei Buloh years.

In stead of accepting and respecting his party’s Khalid has gone on a rampage to discredit PKR, undermine Pakatan, and abandon the principles he stood for in the 2008 General Elections. He has now chosen to split the coalition by courting PAS and dragging HRH The Sultan of Selangor into his fight to retain his MB-ship. His actions have the effect of tarnishing the image of his own party and the coalition. Khalid must now face his party’s Disciplinary Board to answer charges made against him. A party member must abide by rules. Khalid should not be an exception. READ: http://www.malaysiakini.com/news/270653

In the meantime, PKR has launched smear campaign against him. READ: http://www.malaysiakini.com/news/270704. The intention is to further damage his reputation.

Why prolong this tussle? Take the honorable option. Just resign because his party has an agenda which no longer includes Khalid Ibrahim. In the context of that agenda, Khalid is mere pawn. The reality is that the impending change in the MB-ship of Selangor is an attempt by the PKR de facto to reassert himself as a political force to be reckoned with.

Whither PAS: Stay or not to stay,that is the Question

August 1, 2014

Whither PAS: Stay or not to stay,that is the Question

by Boo Su-Lyn (07-31-14) @www.themalaymailonline.com


HadiThe divergence within PAS over the Selangor Mentri Besar’s post exposes a deeper dilemma that goes to the core of its identity — the party must weigh a return to its core ambition for an Islamic state at the risk of permanently breaking its links to Pakatan Rakyat (PR).

The issue is simply a catalyst for conservatives to steer the party back to its fundamental roots, one source close to PAS said. The conservatives see PAS as losing its way and voice within the multicultural PR pact, forcing the party into compromises on issues such hudud, the Islamic penal code, and “Allah”, the Arabic word for god that Muslims here consider exclusive to Islam.

For them, whether Selangor Mentri Besar Tan Sri Khalid Ibrahim remains in his job or otherwise and the consequences of an exit from PR, both for the party and the coalition is largely irrelevant, the source added.

“They want PAS to focus on an Islamic state and not compromise,” the source said.“They know they won’t win. But the struggle is more important than winning now. Real victory is in the afterlife,” the source added.

The gap between PAS and PR, already widening since the party was rebuffed over its ambitions for hudud in Kelantan, has opened into chasm after top PAS leaders said Khalid should stay, departing from a deal to replace him said to have been reached earlier.

Just days after senior leaders from PKR, PAS, and DAP agreed to consider the nomination of PKRDSAI President Datuk Seri Dr Wan Azizah Wan Ismail for the job, PAS president Datuk Seri Abdul Hadi Awang, spiritual adviser Datuk Nik Abdul Aziz Nik Mat and acting ulama wing chief Datuk Ahmad Yakob unabashedly threw their support behind Khalid.

According to the source, the Islamist party’s top leadership has discussed various scenarios including leaving PR in Selangor but not elsewhere, becoming more assertive, breaking ties with PR allies PKR and the secularist DAP to work with UMNO, or striking out on its own.

At the end of the discussion, PAS was divided into the so-called progressives who want the party to stay in PR, and the conservative clerics together with the Kelantan, Terengganu and Selangor state committees that want the party to leave the coalition.

The discussions also concluded that those desiring a break away from PR will decide later if they want to work with Barisan Nasional (BN) lynchpin UMNO, a Malay nationalist party.

“UMNO is secondary. The priority is to not compromise (on the goal) to create an Islamic state,” the source said. The conservatives in PAS are more powerful as they are institutionalised as the Dewan Ulama at the national and state level, while the progressives, otherwise known as the Erdogans, do not have a formal structure.

dr-dzul“The Erdogans are many, but they don’t have anything similar so their voices are divided. Hence, they’re weak,” said the source. The progressives include Dr Hatta Ramli, Dr Dzulkefly Ahmad, Khalid Samad, Datuk Mahfuz Omar, Datuk Dr Mujahid Yusof Rawa and Datuk Husam Musa.

The antithetical ideologies between the Islamic PAS and secularist DAP were put aside in the 2008 general election when both parties worked together with PKR, led by Datuk Seri Anwar Ibrahim, and denied the long-ruling BN its customary two-thirds majority in parliament.

The political cooperation was then cemented as the PR pact. The three parties did not include hudud in their common policy framework, and went on to gain even more ground in the general election last year although they failed to unseat BN.

PAS — whose core vote bank is in Kedah, Kelantan and Terengganu — made significant inroads in west coast states in the 2008 and 2013 general elections, bagging 23 and 21 parliamentary seats in total respectively.

But despite the successful tie-up, underlying concerns over the compatibility of the pact’s three disparate parties never subsided, with irregular flare-ups reminding observers of the deep-rooted differences among the three. The on-and-off conflict between the DAP and PAS, which has always sought to introduce an Islamic penal code, dates back to the 1990s.

Their short-lived alliance under Barisan Alternatif, which was formed to take on BN in the 1999 general election, broke up in 2001 when DAP pulled out citing irreconcilable differences with PAS for its insistence on creating an Islamic state.

PKR, doing a fine job of crushing dreams

July 30, 2014

Message to Anwar Ibrahim and Cohorts

PKR, doing a fine job of crushing dreams

After pledging to effect political reform, all PKR has succeeded in doing in Selangor is plunge it into chaos, making it the laughing stock of the nation.

“Many voters today concede that their vote for PKR was a mistake as they have been forced to put up with a ‘comedy of errors’ literally, with the operative word here being ‘errors’, in the last one year.”-Fernandez.


July 29, 2014

Dear PKR leaders,

AzizahWhat happened to Ubah sebelum Parah?

I am a Selangor resident who unashamedly and proudly voted for PKR in the last two general elections.I voted for reforms, a better Selangor and a “new Malaysia” after being sick and tired of the UMNO brand of politics.

Today after six years, my fellow voters in Selangor will agree that many of us are disillusioned with the state of affairs both in Selangor and within PKR. The party’s many instances of infighting, the practice of nepotism, the abuse of power among their power crazy leaders and the sheer lack of strategy and direction have left many voters wondering what happened to their dream of change that was promised.

The Kajang Move was an excellent example of a poorly thought through strategy. It was doomed to fail from the start. This is a typical case of a blind “de facto leader” who only seems to be promoting his personal interests while indulging in self-glorification (He only wants to be the Prime Minister of Malaysia).

Whilst the prudent financial management of the state’s coffers is commendable, the irony is that the Menteri Besar has failed to address basic issues that matter most to voters. Poor rubbish collection, water shortages, increases in the cost of living, poor public transportation, clogged drains and filthy eateries are just some of the issues voters face on a daily basis.

Many voters today concede that their vote for PKR was a mistake as they have been forced to put up with a ‘comedy of errors’ literally, with the operative word here being ‘errors’, in the last one year.

The writing on the wall is clear.

Abe's StatueUnless PKR has the political will to reform itself and address critical issues affecting the daily lives of the people of Selangor, it can rest assured it will not retain power in Selangor in the next elections. This would be extremely sad as many of us in the state had places our hopes on CHANGE-UBAH.

Let me conclude with a thought-provoking quote from President Abraham Lincoln that should serve as a reminder to our leaders from both sides of the political divide.” You can fool some of the people all of the time, and all of the people some of the time, but you cannot fool all of the people all of the time.”

*W. Fernandez is a FMT reader.

SELANGOR: Removal of Khalid Ibrahim checkmated by PAS’ Spiritual Leader

July 28, 2014

SELANGOR: Removal of Khalid Ibrahim checkmated by PAS’ Spiritual Leader

by Terence Netto@www.malaysiakini.com


Khalid the MoleThanks to Frank for the Above

COMMENT: Can we take it that because the word of the Mursyidul Am (spiritual leader) of PAS nearly enjoys the sanctity of holy writ, Nik Aziz Nik Mat’s demurral over the PKR attempt to remove Selangor Menteri Besar Khalid Ibrahim means the move is dead in the water?Without PAS’s support the PKR attempt, though backed by its Pakatan Rakyat partner DAP, is hobbled and, if persisted in, risks the break-up of the six-year-old opposition coalition, as Lim Guan Eng has warned.After PAS President Abdul Hadi Awang had the day before yesterday announced he saw no good reason why Khalid should be removed as Selangor MB – despite a slew of other high-ranking PAS leaders having earlier endorsed the move – it only remained for the spiritual leader of the party to state his stand for the rest of Pakatan to know what effectively is the PAS position.

Now that the Tok Guru has adopted an identical position to that of the party president, the PAS stance becomes clear: It’s a no-go to the PKR initiative to have a new MB for Selangor. PAS is a democratic party with a monolithic superstructure. It’s imperative for members and subordinate leaders to follow what the president says while the word of the spiritual leader is regarded as sacrosanct.

We have seen in the last six years of Pakatan’s emergence as a government-in-waiting how the Tok Guru is the final word on any issue affecting PAS. No one can buck him in the Islamic party. This fact was vividly demonstrated in the early days of Pakatan’s emergence as a political entity when a move by PAS to commence unity talks with UMNO gathered pace.

The talks boded ill for PAS’s continued presence and collaboration with partners DAP and PKR in Pakatan. The planned talks were a follow-through to the one surreptitiously conducted in the wee hours of March 9, 2008 when an UMNO that was jolted by severe reverses in the national polls held the previous day sought a spurious unity with their long standing rivals for the Malay vote.

Nik Aziz simply pulled the brakes on the entire matter.  He spoke out against the unity talks with UMNO even as it appeared that he was the only leader of prominence in his party bold enough to set his face against collaboration with UMNO.

Formidable clout

Though seemingly alone in his opposition, not only to the idea of a unity government but also to the exploration of the initiative, his clout was formidable enough to bury the boondoggle for good. Nik Aziz might be old (he is 83) and ailing, he’s still a huge influence on PAS, a stature gained by his incorruptibility during 23 years as MB of Kelantan, by the simplicity of his lifestyle, his at times perspicacious pronouncements, and his refreshing freedom from the racism that warps Malaysian society.

In the 16 years of the emergence of the reformasi movement, catalysed by the travails of Anwar Ibrahim, NikDSAI Aziz has shown sympathy for the tribulations endured by the PKR leader on account of UMNO’s deliberate campaign to smother the threat to their continued rule posed by Anwar.

Snuffing out the effort by a faction within PAS wanting to forge common ground with UMNO was seen as a move by Nik Aziz that favoured Anwar’s campaign to draw Malay/Muslim support away from UMNO-BN and channel it towards Pakatan. But now it appears there are limits to Nik Aziz’s receptivity to Anwar’s maneuvers.

In not wanting to go along with the move to remove Khalid as Selangor MB and to replace him with PKR President Dr Wan Azizah Wan Ismail, it is quite clear that the PAS supremo’s receptivity to Anwar’s presentation of a case for action is not as it was before.

Might this be the closure of a phase of empathy between Anwar and vital higher-ups in PAS on issues of national import, a phase that began when Fadzil Noor, the PAS President (1989-2002) before Abdul Hadi, who had a special tie to Anwar and was responsible for steering his party into the lead role in the general clamour for justice when Anwar was goaled following his sacking from UMNO in 1998?

What’s next?

With Nik Aziz and the party’s current president united in giving the thumbs down to the move to remove Khalid, how are the rest in Pakatan who want a new MB for Selangor to effect the change?

Obviously, the forces in PAS that favour Khalid’s removal would have to find some way round the party’s top two leaders’ disapproval. Could a circumventing move succeed given the way PAS is constituted where the president’s opinion is taken as the party’s preferred stance and the spiritual leader’s advice is viewed as sacrosanct?

For some time now the argument has gained credence that a discernible divide in PAS between the Quranic literalists and those of not inflexible interpretation would arrive at the point where each would have to go separate ways.

The former take positions on issues that tend to drive a wedge between them and the more liberal rest of Pakatan whereas the latter hew to interpretations that are broadly compatible with their DAP and PKR allies. Increasingly, it is felt that Pakatan’s cohesion as a tripartite coalition of PKR, DAP and PAS is dependent on the collusion of that part of PAS that is less literalist and inflexible.

Is that faction realistic enough to see that going along with its literalistic brethren in PAS places Pakatan at risk of a break-up and with that the incineration of hopes of an opposition coalition ever supplanting an irredeemably decayed UMNO-BN in Putrajaya?

TERENCE NETTO has been a journalist for four decades now. He likes the profession because it puts him in contact with the eminent without being under the necessity to admire them.


Time to throw in the towel, Anwar Ibrahim

July 27, 2014

Time to throw in the towel, Anwar Ibrahim

by Jasmine Wong@www.freemalaysiatoday.com

AzizahThe long spell of drought we are experiencing these past months pretty much mirrors the long spell of drought Anwar’s camp has been experiencing in their many failed attempts to wrest control of the Selangor Menteri Besar’s (MB) post from Tan Sri Khalid Ibrahim.

Deftly avoiding the brickbats hurled at him like a Matrix warrior, Khalid has been happily going about his business, keeping his head down while strategically strengthening ties with the Palace and holding quiet talks with his ally, PAS’ President Abdul Hadi Awang, to keep the snarling hounds at bay.

Looks like it’s paid off for Khalid as Hadi has made it official he will back Khalid in his bid to retain his post as MB of Malaysia’s richest state. With both Hadi’s and HRH The Sultan’s support, looks like Anwar has been hung out to dry despite jubilantly naming just days ago, his wife and PKR party president Dr. Wan Azizah, as Khalid’s replacement.

What baffles me is that Anwar confidently stated he had secured the buy-in of DAP and PAS. How does he now explain Hadi’s decision to back the very man he is trying to unseat?

It does look like the Kajang Move, the precursor to unseating Khalid, was ‘much ado about nothing’. As wasAnwar and Khalid the brouhaha over Dr.Wan Azizah that has come to a premature end.With so many manoeuvres and counter-manoeuvres to oust Khalid failing, it does show up Pakatan for the sorry bunch of amateur politicians they are, who despite having the numbers, lack the finesse to gain political ground in just one state in Malaysia.

Hadi also has the support of Nik Aziz, the ulamas and the youth within PAS in his endorsement of Khalid. With this new development, just what trick will Anwar pull out of his hat this time in his last ditch effort to launch yet another intervention?

For once, Anwar cannot pin the blame of this catastrophe on Barisan Nasional, as the main players in this ‘game gone wrong’ have all come from within his own opposition coalition, save HRH The Sultan who is beholden to no one.

Despite many Pakatan supporters refusing to consider that money, and lots of it, is the motive behind casting Khalid aside, we must ask why the Kajang Move, as ill-conceived as it was, was put into motion in the first place.

RafiziRafizi Ramli’s flaky explanation for the move being a launch pad for Anwar’s future political dominance in Putrajaya was an insult to our intelligence. There was obviously something more sinister lurking behind it.

With all the recent relevations surrounding the water deal gushing out in the media, it does look like Anwar and his band of brothers were merely eyeing Selangor’s pot of gold.

This Hari Raya while good triumphs over evil, Khalid can sit back, safe in the knowledge that Selangor will continue to prosper under his shrewd eye and tight fist. To the rest in Pakatan who are livid their recent plans have gone awry yet again, simmer down! Rafizi is bound to hatch another harebrained plan he will force us to swallow. Time to throw in the towel Anwar, and let someone else lead the cause.

Jasmine Wong is a FMT columnist.