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.

READ:
http://www.themalaysianinsider.com/sideviews/article/selangor-mb-fiasco-the-right-to-seek-dissolution-art-harun

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.

hype_najib1

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.

Indonesian Ulamas opt for Moderation with real deeds and political will


August 19, 2014

Indonesian Ulamas opt for Moderation with real deeds and political will

by Dr. Farish A. Noor (08-18-14)@www.nst.com.my

farish-a-noorIN the shadowy world of underground radical movements, alliances are formed and broken on a regular basis. Often, this is part of the tactic to keep their opponents guessing and may, sometimes, be intended to cloud the real manoeuvres and alliances that are being formed behind closed doors, sometimes without the knowledge of the ordinary members of the movements themselves, who remain clueless as to who they really serve and whose agenda is being advanced.

This was the case last week, when radical group Jamaah Ansar-ul Tauhid (JAT), under the leadership of notorious ulama Abu Bakar Bashir, broke up into two factions after Bashir demanded that the rank-and-file of the movement follow his lead and make a pledge of loyalty to the Islamic State (formerly known as the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant), or IS, movement, led by Abu Bkr al-Baghdadi in Iraq-Syria.

It was reported that half of the members of JAT refused to do so and were expelled by Bashir. More startling still was the revelation that among those kicked out of JAT were the sons of Bashir himself. That such groups fall apart almost as soon as they are constituted is not new and not unique to this particular case.

Bashir was formerly the leader of Majlis Mujahidin Indonesia (MII), but when he demanded that MII accept him as Caliph for life, he was soundly defeated by his own movement, who argued that nobody should be given that much power over a movement like MII. (Bashir, in turn, argued that there was no democracy in movements like MII and that the position of leader should be reserved only for the most deserving, namely himself.) After being expelled from MII, he formed his own breakaway JAT movement, which now seems to have broken up again.

Notwithstanding these convolutions and internal revolts, these groups are troublesome, to say the least, and their violent actions across Indonesia have rendered terrible damage to the reputation of the country, scaring off visitors and investors alike, who have written Indonesia off as a country in perpetual crisis and on the verge of collapse.

That such small groups can do so much damage is particularly true today in the age of global media and sensationalism, where one isolated bomb attack in an obscure part of the country can be made known to the whole world in a matter of minutes.

It is, perhaps, this sense of fatigue and irritation with such radical groups that the government of Indonesia has “manned up” and confronted the problem head-on.

Over the past few weeks, the country’s Religion Minister Lukman Saifuddin (right) has openly declaredlukman-hakim-saifuddin that IS was a threat to all religious communities in the country; the government and security forces have declared them a danger that has to be prevented from spreading; and, some leaders of radical groups, like Fron Pembela Islam, have already come under arrest.

The most recent proclamation against IS came from Majlis Ulama Indonesia (MUI), the country’s highest institutional body of religious scholars (ulama), who declared that IS’ actions were un-Islamic, and that its violent deeds were contrary to the teachings and ethics of Islam.

At a time when so many governments seem paralysed before the advance of IS radicals, Indonesia has, at least, shown that it will take a stand and pay the political cost for doing so, if necessary.

The fact that the strongest criticism against IS has come from ministers, senior police and army commanders, and now, the all-important MUI, tells us something about the tone and tenor of Islam in Indonesia today, and that it is one of the few Muslim-majority countries in the world where terms like “moderation” and “tolerance” are not merely sugar-coated platitudes to be taken lightly, but where to be moderate means having to demonstrate your moderation with real deeds and political will instead.

After Khalid, Could Najib be next?


August 18, 2014

After Khalid, Could Najib be next?

http://www.malaysiakini.com (08-18-14)

TDM--21 March

Dr Mahathir Mohamad is disappointed with Prime Minister Najib Abdul Razak, whom he said has performed even worse than Abdullah Ahmad Badawi.

In a stinging blog posting today, the former Premier said: “I had no choice but to withdraw my support. This too was not effective. So I have to reprimand (Najib).”

Mahathir criticised Najib for pandering to the wishes of the opposition and neighbouring countries and cited the repeal of the Internal Security Act as an example. “I am reprimanding because I believe that leaders who are not reprimanded will believe that all they have done is good. Only when reprimanded would they realise their mistakes and perhaps rectify them,” he added in what can be considered his most caustic attack against Najib.

Mahathir said it was not easy for Malays to criticise their leaders although they are in the wrong, as they are afraid of openly criticising them. “However, behind the leader they would say vulgar things.I am not like any other Malays. When the first Prime Minister Tunku Abdul Rahman made policies which are not beneficial for the Malays, I wrote a letter criticising Tunku,” he said in describing his famous letter for which he had been expelled from UMNO.

The former Premier of 22-years, who just celebrated his 89th birthday last month, admitted that he had been critical of Najib’s administration and panned many of the present government’s policies.

Najib’s ills, according to Mahathir

Mahathir further listed down Najib’s policies with which he disagreed, starting with the government’s decision to repeal the controversial Internal Security Act, and the Restricted Residence law, which he said had not stopped the opposition from political parties.

“In fact, crime has increased with the release of crime lords,” he said. The former Premier also criticised that Malaysia was willing to bow down to neighbouring countries until internal country matters are affected by the foreign countries’ views.

Mahathir said the government’s funds are used to buy votes especially during general elections and this resulted in the people to depend on the government. “This resulted in the willingness of the people to work being reduced as they are rewarded for not doing anything. This does not help in the development of the country,” he lashed out, obviously referring to the Bantuan Rakyat 1Malaysia (BR1M) handouts.

He further questioned Najib’s economic policy where consumers are bearing the brunt and there is no control of imports to the detriment of local industries. Mahathir further questioned Najib’s actions of giving workers more than a week’s leave and imposing minimum wage without taking into consideration the costs that it has on business and industries which now failed to compete with imported products. He said many of the government’s policies under Najib are destroying relations between the races and this is affecting the country’s economy and finances. “All this is a result of the government supporters not wanting to criticise its leaders,” he said.

‘Never expected Najib to be worse than Pak Lah’

Mahathir in his two-and-a-half pages posting said Najib is being seen as ineffective compared to hisMahathir and his wards predecessor Abdullah. “I never envisaged that his (Najib’s) achievement in the 13th general election would be worse than Abdullah’s.”

“My hope is that Najib takes a lesson from his poor performance in the 13th general election.However, it seems there is no change to Najib’s policy or approach, although I have expressed my opinion (which are also the views of the people who had met him),” he said.

Mahathir ended his scathing comment by saying if there is no one willing to criticise Najib, he is willing to do so and is prepared to face the consequences.

“I have been isolated for criticising Abdullah and was slandered by many. If I criticise and they abuse me I will accept it. It is not that I do not love the leader but I love my race and country more,” he said. Mahathir had timed the blog posting just as Najib had returned from his two-weeks overseas leave today.

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.

Happy 69th Birthday, Indonesia


August 17, 2014

Happy 69th Birthday, Indonesia

To All Our Friends, Associates, Bapak Presiden, Government and People of Indonesia

Indonesia's 69 th Year of Independence

indonesiaindependenceday_300Dr Kamsiah and I warmly congratulate your great country on the occasion of its 69th Birthday which falls today. As a major partner in ASEAN, you have a crucial role to play for peace and stability of South East Asia. Your economic prosperity too is vital to all of us. That is why your recent Presidential Elections was closely watched by all of us. It was a resounding success and we can be justifiably proud of what you have achieved in furthering the cause of democratic politics.

August 17, 2014

On this very special day, we pray for your continued success and prosperity, and extend our warm salams to you  all. Dirgahayu, Republik Indonesia –Dr. Kamsiah and Din Merican

The Real Meaning of the Selangor Crisis:Islamo-monarchical ‘Ketuanan Melayu’ in Substance


August 17, 2014

The real meaning of the Selangor Crisis

by Ernest de Silva (08-16-14)

BREAKING NEWS:

http://www.cpiasia.net/v3/index.php/228-commentary-sp-353/commentary/2631-the-meaning-of-the-selangor-crisis

khalid-ibrahim

If the current “seizure of power” by Tan Sri Khalid  Ibrahim stands –and I cannot see how, in any serious way, Pakatan can come back from this shambles, if even if it can muster the numbers on a confidence vote and is allowed a chance to do so) -– then Malaysia has reached a new level; a new plateau, so to speak, has been placed on a new foundation.

If the installation of Tan Sri Khalid as Menteri Besar of Selangor stays, then that fact, by itself, will mean and signify and establish that whatever the formal “niceties” about constitutions and electoral politics may suggest, Malaysians now live under what might be called a political system or dispensation of “Islamo-monarchical ‘Ketuanan Melayu’. “

Following GE13 I expected UMNO to seize the opportunity afforded it by the favourable new national election-based political arithmetic and to set as its main priority for the period from GE13 to GE14 the implementation and institutionalization and practical achievement of Ketuanan Melayu, of effective Malay political supremacy.That is to say not just to make pantomime symbolic displays of Ketuanan Melayu (as the Pemuda/Umno Youth did with its keris-waving in the years leading to GE12 in 2008).

UMNO is not just to make the ideological and polemical promotion of Ketuanan Melayu thinking a central part and focus of government activity (as the party did between 2008 and 2013, from GE12 to GE13) but it is now to establish and enact and implement Ketuanan Melayu as Malaysia’s defining and operative political doctrine, as the basis of the state and of the national identity of its people.

Ketuanan Melayu in Substance

Mahathir

What does the talk about “mewujudkan dan menghayati atau merealisasikan” Ketuanan Melayu mean? It is to implement and institutionalize Ketuanan Melayu and, by so affirming Ketuanan Melayu thinking, to “make it real” as the nationally operative doctrine here in Malaysia, meaning within the political and the wider socio-cultural order.

I expected UMNO to work hard and seriously at the job. But I did not really imagine that they might work as swiftly and decisively as they have, especially by means, barely a year after GE13, of this upheaval in Selangor.

What is significant about the Selangor events, if Tan Sri Khalid’s chief ministership stands, is this – with this move, its successful accomplishment, the final and ultimate “Malay supremacist” goal of effectively, or de facto, establishing Ketuanan Melayu has already been completed. That is the terrible truth.

Unfinished “Malay struggle” now completed

After this, there is no more new ground to be fought for and won, to be conquered and gained. It is all already in hand .What remains now is not the task of conquering new terrain and establishing control over it; all that remains now is to “fill in” the ground that has already been conquered for Ketuanan Melayu.

This ground is to be filled with institutions and activities and practices and personnel that will give content and expression and ballast to that important new fact of Ketuanan Melayu; that will empirically and socially “substantiate” it, provide it with growing and ultimately massively powerful substance.

To bed it down securely. But the conquest, the primary phase of “the great Malay struggle”, is already complete.Its consolidation may yet prove to be a long process but we are now in the stage where the task is merely one of consolidation and amplification, not of ideological and national institutional conquest.That is where Malaysia now is and we all are now at.

Implications of  political developments in Selangor

You and I, we, are now standing in the middle of it already. Upon its ground and terrain, as established fact and now (in-principle) accomplished reality. That is the meaning of what has happened in Selangor since last Sunday. But the meaning and implications of those events are not just Selangor-specific. They define, and redefine, the entire national political terrain.

An “Islamo-monarchical Ketuanan Melayu” polity: I have been asked to spell out the reasoning, to join the dots of the argument through which I have reached this conclusion, and seized upon this typification of what Malaysia has now in effect become.

Shape which Malaysia has taken

The argument goes like this: Whatever its faults – and there was much that was good and also bad in it – the Pakatan Raykat government of Selangor was a popularly elected government and administration, and one that, at GE13 in 2013, was returned to office with very substantial (and also socially diverse, humanly variegated) support.

Such a government cannot be decently dismissed from office by dubious, or fancifully contrived, means and manoeuvrering. What is ethical or acceptable in the corporate world, in the case of a well-disguised hostile or non-consensual reverse takeover bid, simply cannot pass muster in the world and by the criteria of democratic politics.

hishamuddin-husseinYet that is what has, or arguably seems to have, happened in Selangor over the past few days.With Tan Sri Khalid’s extraordinary manoeuvre, and hence as a result of its peculiarly occluded and non-transparent dismissal, that elected government now seems (to all serious observers) to be in the process of being replaced by the installation of what bids to be basically an UMNO-led or UMNO-supported state government. It is a state government that has been brought into being and which intends to survive with the support and at the pleasure of UMNO.

UMNO’s Agenda

The Khalid administration is standing with the support of UMNO. What is more, these days it is an UMNO which is far more assertively and stridently Islamist than its old rival, the Islamic party PAS.

UMNO has become stridently Islamist in its eagerness to retain the support of the Islamist and Malay ethno-supremacist hardliners to whom it is increasingly beholden and now, this UMNO incessantly goads and scorns and flays PAS on grounds of the latter’s insufficient commitment these days to an Islamist politics that will validate and sacralize a mundanely pro-Malay sectarian-nationalist political agenda – UMNO’s agenda.

The revamped Khalid administration will be a prospective government, yet further, that with the anticipated support of PAS (or large parts of it, whether the PAS leaders all agree or not) will offer an assertively Malay-Islamist administration and range of policies in Selangor.

And, further still, an UMNO-PAS Malay-Islamist government whose way to initial power and ultimate intallation was made open by the ouster (or through the apparent dismissal) of the elected Pakatan Rakyat administration on the authority of a Malay ruler exercising weighty monarchical powers and discretion.

Role of the Malay Ruler

HRH The Sultan of SelangorThe Sultan’s powers and prerogatives, in the final instance, are based and rest upon his traditional (and hence pre-constitutional) role as the payung or umbrella sheltering his Malay subjects and protecting Malay society and customs and – placing his role in all this beyond questioning – as the defender of the Islamic faith, its standing and dignity in his lands.

So in place of the former elected government, we are now faced with the imminent prospect of an assertively pro-Malay government and polity, ratified and sacralized by the ideas and an agenda of unyielding Islamist politics, and brought into power (or ushered to its threshold) by the initiative of a Malay-Islamic monarch.

And the implications of these developments are not simply Selangor-specific. Their reach is nationwide.In shorthand, that amounts to, and to me sounds very much like, “an Islamo-monarchical Ketuanan Melayu” polity.

NOTE: http://www.nst.com.my/node/23832

A. Jalil HamidThe “Kajang Move”, designed by PKR to oust Khalid and throw a political lifeline to Anwar but which has been checkmated at every step, has been aptly renamed “Kajang Folly” by PKR detractors.

The Selangor political crisis, if prolonged, has deeper repercussions beyond just the survival of Anwar and Khalid. For one, it could make or break Pakatan, casting doubt about its survival in the next general election.The crisis has brought out the simmering fundamental and deep ideological differences between PKR, PAS and DAP.

“Even if they pull through in Selangor, the partnership or alliance at the national level has been dented,” said Chow Kum Hor, executive director of Centre for a Better Tomorrow, a civil society group that says it promotes moderation and good governance.– Dato Abdul Jalil Hamid, August 17, 2014

A Political Duel of epic proportions


August 17, 2014

A Political Duel of epic proportions

by Tunku Abdul Aziz @www.nst.com.my (08-16-14)

KHALID IBRAHIMTAN Sri Abdul Khalid Ibrahim, the beleaguered Menteri Besar of Selangor teetering on the edge of a political precipice, is fighting an all-out battle for justice that has been denied to him.

The recent Kajang affair must rank as a disgraceful episode, the lowest point, in our political history. The barefaced manipulation of the electoral process with utter disregard for ethical public behaviour has surprised even those used to the murky world of opposition politics.

Datuk Seri Anwar Ibrahim’s duplicity is the last straw as far as Khalid is concerned: he is all the more determined, therefore, to thwart Anwar’s plans to install his wife, Datin Seri Dr Wan Azizah Wan Ismail, as Menteri Besar of Selangor.

Kajang has also provided yet another clue to Anwar’s greed and insatiable appetite for raw power, however acquired. I do not hold this against him because Anwar is simply doing what comes naturally to him. He is an intriguing fellow. Where would we all be without his intrigues and plots to add spice to an otherwise bland and dull political fare in our fair country?

I am told on good authority that Khalid is quite relaxed about the outcome of constitutional impasse forced upon him. He is digging his heels because he has been hurt by the way he has been demonised; his character trampled upon and his reputation and dignity dragged through mud and filth awash with lies and innuendoes. All in all, it is an ugly display of wanton disregard for basic human values. In short, it is unfettered greed writ large in all its sordid nakedness.

Khalid has had his fill of the tyranny of dynastic politics and he will use every legitimate trick in his bag to frustrate Anwar’s plot that only an unconscionable mind could have conceived. We are just seeing the beginning of a duel that has all the makings of an epic of Mahabharata proportions.

Anwar is in his element and Khalid, in his present mood, will pull all the stops if he has to. The man regarded by many as slow to act and even slower to anger has shown us all that what is apparent is not always real. He is a fighter and Anwar is beginning to realise that he has probably bitten more than he can chew.

Those trying to outmaneuver Khalid have probably forgotten that he was a key member of the team that shocked and surprised the city of London when Malaysia mounted that brilliant “dawn raid” that put Guthrie in Malaysian hands for the first time since 1821. Khalid is not the lumbering simpleton that he pretends to be. He is smart and he knows the score.

Dr Wan Azizah, PKR President and pretender to Selangor’s highest elected office, has trotted out her supporters,Kajang Move numbering 30 in an effort to blunt Khalid’s claim that he, in fact, still commands the confidence of the state assembly. The proper place to verify the claim is via a motion of no confidence.Dr Wan Azizah should have recourse to this avenue and let the state assembly decide who is to lead the Selangor government.

Dr Wan Azizah, having been refused an audience with the sultan of Selangor, is making another bid, this time round rightly so, without husband Anwar’s influence, which apparently cut no ice with the palace. She should be well-advised to distance herself from her husband when carrying out her work as an assemblyman if she wants her aspiration for high elected office to be taken seriously.

The six former members of the executive council are threatening to take Khalid to court for “sacking them”. Of course, it was nothing of the kind. Khalid merely carried out a reshuffle of his executive council. Nothing extraordinary and all perfectly kosher. He dropped them because they had made clear their intention not to work with him.

He would have been mad to want to bed down with enemies under his blanket. They are quite right to say that their appointments are made by the Sultan but they chose to ignore that the royal consent is given upon the advice of the Menteri Besar which, for the sake of good order, the palace is duty bound to accept.

They have not been sacked by Khalid, merely dropped to make way for people who, in his opinion, are likely to work effectively with him for the benefit of the state. It is his prerogative. Cabinet reshuffles go on all the time all over the world.

I have just received my copy of the Spectator Magazine and I notice a reference to David Cameron’s latest round of “musical chairs” which has resulted in “good ministers evaporate in reshuffles because their face or gender doesn’t fit when the prime minister wants to change the look of his government?”

Unlike PKR and DAP, there were no threats of court action by the former British cabinet ministers against their Prime Minister for exercising his freedom to form his cabinet as he sees fit.

It says a great deal about the integrity and maturity of our six politicians who obviously see elected office as a gravy train and not as a public duty. It is a political culture that must change as part of our national transformation programme. Surely, even in politics, there must be a place for ethical conduct.

Asia’s Reform Trio?


August 16, 2014

This article by Kishore highlights three leading lights of Asia, Xi of China, Modi of India and Jokowi of Indonesia. The reform agendas of these leaders deserve our attention in the light of what is happening in our country in general and Selangor in particular. There is also a message to the successor Selangor MB about governance.

Khalid Ibrahim is an ignoramus by choice when it comes to democratic governance. He once preached competence, accountability and transparency. And then lust of power took his soul.Now he is the very antithesis of what he used to preach, purely for the selfish reasons. He should go asap. Good riddance to rubbish. –Din Merican

 

Asia’s Reform Trio?

by Kishore Mahbubani

KishoreASIA is poised to enter a historical sweet spot, with three of its most populous countries — China, India and Indonesia — led by strong, dynamic, and reform-minded leaders. In fact, China’s Xi Jinping, India’s Narendra Modi and Indonesia’s Joko “Jokowi” Widodo could end up ranked among their countries’ greatest modern leaders.

In China, Mao Zedong united the country in 1949, while Deng Xiaoping was responsible for engineering its unprecedented economic rise. For Xi to join their ranks, he must create a modern, rules-based state. That requires, first and foremost, slaying the massive dragon of corruption.

Over the years, corruption has become endemic in China, with regional party leaders and bosses in state-owned enterprises wielding their vast privileges and authority to accumulate personal wealth. This has severely undermined the Chinese Communist Party’s legitimacy, while hampering the kind of market-based competition that China’s economy needs to propel the country to high-income status.

So far, Xi seems to be up to the challenge. He has been boldly pursuing major figures who were previously considered “untouchable”, such as General Xu Caihou, a former vice-chairman of the Central Military Commission, and Zhou Yongkang, a former member of the Politburo Standing Committee, China’s highest government body. But the long-term fight against corruption cannot depend on Xi alone. It will succeed only if strong institutions are created to protect and nurture the rule of law long after Xi is out of power.

If Xi chooses to establish such institutions, he has a strong legal tradition upon which to call. As former United States ambassador to China Gary F. Locke reported in a speech early this year, the concept of equality before the law has deep historical roots. Indeed, in the fourth century BC, the statesman and reformer, Shang Yang, famously asserted that, “When the prince violates the law, the crime he commits is the same as that of the common people”.

Building on this tradition, Xi can create strong institutions that will stand the test of time. If he does — recognising that, to be credible, the rule of law must apply even to the party’s most influential figures — he will become modern China’s third-strongest leader.

In India, Mahatma Gandhi rejuvenated the country’s soul, which had been battered by colonialism, and Jawaharlal Nehru established its democratic political culture. Modi now must lay the foundations for India’s emergence as a global economic power.

Replicating the 10 per cent annual growth rates achieved in Gujarat under Modi’s leadership from 2004 to 2012 would obviously be a boon to India’s development prospects and global standing. But achieving such high growth rates in a sustainable way will demand far-reaching, sometimes painful reforms, such as the removal of wasteful subsidies, especially for fuel, in order to free up resources for, say, increased healthcare expenditure. Other imperatives include shrinking the budget deficit, removing internal barriers to trade and encouraging private investment.

To win the support needed to implement these reforms without undermining political stability or social cohesion, Modi must demonstrate that he is an inclusive leader capable of cooperating with Indians outside of his Hindu nationalist base, including the country’s 150 million-plus Muslims. If he succeeds, he, like Xi, will become his country’s next iconic leader.

Jokowi,Xi, ModiIn Indonesia’s case, the two most influential leaders so far have been Sukarno, who used powerful rhetoric to foster a sense of national unity in one of the world’s most diverse countries, and Suharto, who overthrew Sukarno and created a strong economic base that lifted millions out of poverty. Jokowi must now lay the institutional foundations for good governance.

Jokowi has risen from humble beginnings to the apex of power without compromising his image as a “man of the people” or his reputation for pragmatism and honesty. Jokowi has a long track record of good governance, having implemented effective policies during his stint as mayor of Surakarta (such as refurbishing markets, relocating slum dwellers, and cutting bureaucratic red tape), and as Governor of Jakarta (where he broadened access to healthcare and education).

But replicating this success at the national level will be no easy feat. Jokowi, who takes office in October, must implement policies that address rising inequality, unsustainable fuel subsidies, entrenched corruption, inadequate infrastructure, and restrictive labour laws — all while rebuilding trust in Indonesian institutions.

The challenges facing Jokowi are compounded by the fact that his ruling coalition holds only about one-third of the seats in Indonesia’s Parliament, with the rest loyal to the coalition of his rival in the presidential election, Prabowo Subianto. So, in introducing a new style of governance, exemplified by merit-based cabinet appointments, Jokowi must be careful not to alienate the political and business elites who have long benefited from their tight grip on power.

In short, if Jokowi is to form a national consensus on the institutions that Indonesia needs, he will have to reach across this political divide. To this end, Mexican President Enrique Peña Nieto’s cross-party “Pact for Mexico” could serve as a useful model.

Promisingly, Jokowi has a reputation for independence from partisan and religious politics, and a talent for communicating with the people. And, as a political outsider, he is in a unique position to direct Indonesia towards a more prosperous, united future, and vault himself into the country’s pantheon of great leaders.

China, India, and Indonesia are all well-positioned to take important steps forward. A commitment by Xi, Modi, and Jokowi to do what is needed would bring rapid, far-reaching progress to their respective countries, Asia, and the global order. Project Syndicate/www.nst.com.my

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

khalid-anwar

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

VIC,

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.

A Clash of two Egos


August 14, 2014

A Clash of two Egos

Selangor pays the price of the Anwar-Khalid confrontation

by Syed Izzaddin Jaafar @www.freemalaysiatoday.com

khalid-anwarThe collision of an unstoppable force with an immovable object seems almost tenable when compared to a clash between a recalcitrant Menteri Besar and a petulant political animal.

What we have are two men, one a former company CEO and the other a scarred political veteran, engaged in a pissing contest to end all pissing contests. It is a spectacle to behold, if only Selangorians did not end up paying the price.

What gives them the right to toy with the lives of 5.4 million people, for political gain? These “alpha males” are in need of an industrial dose of Omega-3 to recharge whatever brain functions they may have left. They are dragging everyone down to their level.

Khalid Ibrahim, stop playing the victim here. There is no conspiracy against you. What we do have is a classic case of your time running out. For someone with your experience in the corporate world, you more than anyone else,ought to know that different situations require different styles of leadership.

It happens that what you have isn’t needed any longer. So just go. You are not bigger than the state, you happen to be expendable like everyone else. As for Anwar Ibrahim, you are not Midas. What you touch does not always turn to gold.

In fact, the things you have touched in your career have often turned into incriminating evidence against yourself, whether fairly or not. This Kajang Move is another to add to your shelf of illustrious manoeuvres that have added up to nothing, unless chaos, discord and the possible break-up of Pakatan Rakyat are considered notable achievements.

It is Selangor that ends up suffering the most. A state that has displayed the independence to break the shackles of the old order is now seeing the fading of the dream of even greater political maturity. That dream has been broken by immature men, acting just like the politicians that Selangorians despise, men who claim to carry the banner of reforms.

They are no reformers, they are merely remnants of the past. Their lack of relevance is made apparent by their failure to let go of personal ambition in a world that demands much more than that.

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)

http://www.zaid.my/current/the-anwar-and-khalid-story/

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.

Progressives, Moderates and Erodogans in PAS speak Up


August 13, 2014

Progressives, Moderates and Erodogans in PAS speak Up

by Din Merican

Khalid Ibrahim is just a small potato in the context of Malaysian politics. I find it rather strange that the media is giving so much attention to this independent political recalcitrant who is bent on continuing this Selangor  crisis for his very selfish reasons. He wants to stay in power no matter what the cost is. Stranger still is that a highly and intelligent educated man does not understand that for all our imperfections, we still practise democratic politics. In a democracy, it is government of the people, by the people and for the people.Leaders are accountable to people.

Since becoming the Menteri Besar as the behest of Pakatan Rakyat and his former party PKR, Khalid has forgotten this fundamental principle. He now thinks and acts like a dictator. His sacking of EXCO members who worked closely with him gives another side of his character is a good example. His loyalty to friends and allies is now suspect. He has no qualms about abandoning them whenever that option suited him. He is under siege and has a bunker mentality. Yet Hadi and Nik Aziz cannot see this side of the Selangor Menteri Besar’s persona. Perhaps, these old PAS hecks cannot entertain the prospect of  a brilliant medical doctor, Dato Seri Wan Azizah as Khalid’s competent and worthy successor.

I am glad some progressives in PAS have decided to take a stand on the side of Pakatan Rakyat in order to ensure the alternative to UMNO-BN remains to continue our quest for change and good governance. Long live a two party system in our country. They must bring forward the August 17 meeting of PAS Council and decide PAS’s future. Resolve this important issue of whether to stay or leave Pakatan Rakyat.

Aziz and Hadi ShowIt is also time for more progressives like Husam, Mujahid,  Saari Sungib, and Erdogans in the party to make a stand on this issue. They cannot allow Hadi, Nik Aziz, Harun Din and others like to them to dictate PAS’ future. Being a Village Party is certainly an option that should be resoundingly rejected. The old hecks must be replaced with leaders who can see clearly that PAS’ future lies with Pakatan Rakyat.

As for the media, I strongly suggest that they focus on national issues and not pander to the infantile antics and highlight the irresponsible conduct of of Khalid Ibrahim who in my view should quit politics and spend time with his grandchildren.

 

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.

Khalid Ibrahim must go, says Former Aide


August 12, 2014

Khalid Ibrahim must go, says Former Aide

by Nik Nazmi@www.themalaysianinsider.com

nik-nazmiPKR has sacked the Menteri Besar of Selangor, Tan Sri Abdul Khalid Ibrahim, from the party.This has caused a great deal of shock to many.

Everybody – whether it was my relatives over Hari Raya, constituents at mamak stalls or my friends over WhatsApp – wanted to know why we wanted him out .Quite a number were critical and this was not surprising.

Having known and worked with Khalid for some time, I personally found the deterioration of his relationship with the party and his removal very sad. Nevertheless, PKR has made the right decision. Khalid had to be removed from the party. He must also be made to leave the MB’s position.

The first time I met him was during my stint as Anwar Ibrahim’s Private Secretary in 2006. In the middle of that year, I went to Khalid’s residence in Bukit Damansara to hand him the party’s membership form. He was then announced as the party’s treasurer, in a move that shocked many. Despite the fact that he had previously sought office in UMNO as a division chief, supreme council member and branch chief (all unsuccessfully), he was largely known to most Malaysians as a corporate captain.

Two years later, on the day after the historic 12th general elections, Khalid asked me to help him as he had been nominated to be the new Selangor MB. I had just won the Seri Setia constituency then. I remember drafting the letter to the Selangor Palace, confirming the support of the three parties for Khalid.

I accompanied Khalid to meet the State Secretary and State Financial Officer to take over the reins ofAnwar and Khalid power. After Khalid was confirmed as MB, I was then formally appointed as his political secretary. Things started reasonably well as we rolled up our sleeves to implement our pledges to the public.

We focused on creating a people-oriented economy while balancing the need to grow the economy and clean up the mess left behind by Khir Toyo’s administration. Khalid’s clean image stood in stark contrast to the scandals of the previous BN governments and the inefficiency of the local councils.

After a while though, tensions emerged.One Wednesday night, I received a call from the party leadership asking me where Khalid was. It was the night of the weekly PKR political bureau meeting which key leaders – including Anwar, the president, deputy president, vice-presidents, secretary-general and senior leaders – attend. Khalid was part of the bureau. I replied that as usual it was keyed in Khalid’s schedule. But Khalid did not show up.

The political bureau is not a talking shop, nor is it a cabal where politicians demand or trade favours and kickbacks. Important issues – including the direction of the party and how we manage ties with our Pakatan Rakyat allies – are discussed there. It is not a very good idea for a PKR representative – especially our only MB – to absent themselves from it unless he absolutely has to.

khalid-ibrahimHis staff would put the political bureau meetings in his schedule, making sure that it never clashed with his other duties. We would give him ample notice and reminders of them. He would agree to go but I would invariably find out that he did not. This episode repeated itself time and time again. It came to a point where I basically ended up having to go on his behalf, becoming a liaison of sorts between the MB and the party. Similarly, I attended to public complaints at Khalid’s Kuala Selangor division as well as with the various divisions in Selangor.

I would make sure to brief Khalid on what had transpired at all these meetings. What was shocking to me was that he would not only dismiss the issues raised as trifles but also make disparaging remarks about the party.His attitude was basically that the party was always wrong about everything and he was always right.

I found his stance very perplexing. Perhaps he is naturally adverse to politicking, or thought that attending the political bureau would expose him to unwarranted pressures in his job as MB. But his attitude suggested a very cavalier, even hostile, attitude towards the political process and democracy.

It was as if he viewed the party as merely a vehicle for him to use and dispose of as he pleased. But Malaysia practises the Westminster form of democracy where executives like Khalid must also command the support of his colleagues to gain and remain in office. He is primus inter pares, not the be-all, end-all.

And for that matter, politicians – even in Malaysia – are not exactly strangers to what the public wants and needs.Indeed, such criticisms were often over policies his administration adopted which the public did not like. But Khalid was and is not much of a team player in this regard. This made things extra difficult when you consider the onslaught – including over racial and religious issues – that UMNO-BN visited upon PKR and Pakatan post-2008.

After two years of this, I finally had enough and decided to leave. I felt I could not convince him to cooperate with the party and it was time for someone else to give it a go.

I was proud of what the Pakatan government had achieved at that time. Though I felt frustrated working under him, I was still fond of him and even considered him a father figure. I thought that with a different political secretary, things might change.

In the 13th general election, Pakatan increased its seats in the Selangor State Assembly from 36 to 44. PKR however, lost one seat, meaning that our tally fell to 14. This was due to three-cornered fights in Kota Damansara with PAS and Semenyih in with PSM (Parti Sosialis Malaysia). The performance of the Selangor Pakatan government, together with the hope of taking over Putrajaya undoubtedly contributed to the overall increase.

khalid ib2However, it has to be stated that Khalid hardly campaigned outside his Bandar Tun Razak parliamentary seat and Port Klang state seat. It was Anwar, Dr Wan Azizah Wan Ismail, Azmin Ali, Nurul Izzah, Tian Chua and Rafizi Ramli who hit the streets not only in Selangor but nation-wide to campaign for PKR and Pakatan. Many party leaders and grassroots were also upset that Khalid abandoned his original seat of Ijok and went to Port Klang. But the party made the decision as there was too much rumblings from the grassroots in Ijok. Indeed, PKR ended up losing the Bukit Melawati state seat in the same parliamentary constituency as well.

At this point, some readers might be thinking: “Okay, so he doesn’t like to go to party meetings and he was a bit selfish with his campaigning time. So what? Lots of politicians are like that. Why should they remove him? Shouldn’t he be praised for refusing to bow to political pressure? And anyway, why didn’t they give him the boot sooner if they didn’t like him?”

It is true that many leaders in PKR were not willing to replace him after the 2013 general elections. While there were grumblings, there was a sense was that we could get by if the status quo prevailed.

This year however, serious question marks appeared over what was before seen as his strongest suit – his personal integrity. One can read in detail the party’s dossier and supporting evidence of this.

I would encourage Malaysians – particularly residents of Selangor – to read it and decide on this matter themselves. I am confident that this document will bring them to the same conclusion as the party.

I am only highlighting the most worrying issues raised in it.Khalid and his supporters have been very adroit in crafting an image of him as a disinterested technocrat.He is supposedly “above politics” and “puts the people first”. However, the document highlights some very disturbing lapses in this regard.

Chief among this was his controversial settlement of his RM59.5 million debt with Bank Islam. Despite repeated court judgements in the past that went against him, Khalid in February 2014 was able to obtain an out-of-court settlement for far less than the sum in question.

The fact that one Rashid Manaf apparently brokered the deal heightened the party’s suspicion. Rashid – as the record shows – is closely linked to UMNO. Indeed, Khalid had repeatedly refused to clarify the debt issue despite being given the opportunity by the party to do so. He cannot claim that this was purely a private matter.

As an elected official, his debts are a public issue as he could have been disqualified for office had he been declared bankrupt as a result of them. Furthermore, it is interesting to note that after the settlement was agreed to, EcoWorld Berhad – a company Rashid is a director of – was then rewarded with land contracts by the Selangor state government worth hundreds of millions of ringgit.

Indeed, Khalid has made the Selangor state government party to two very controversial land deals involving Ecoworld.

On March 19, 2014, Tropicana Corporation Berhad announced the sale of 308.72 hectares of land it had bought from Selangor to Ecoworld Berhad in April 2013. The initial sale to Tropicana was controversial because it was done after state assembly had been dissolved to pave the way for the 13th general elections.

This means that the state government at the time was only a caretaker and it was hence improper for it to have agreed to such a deal.

Tropicana furthermore was granted extremely unusual and generous terms, including only being required to pay an RM50 million deposit and having to pay the remaining RM537 million over 12 years. The political bureau raised the matter but it was very difficult to get clarity over what was going on when he rarely attended the bureau’s meetings.

The second deal, signed on March 25, 2014 awarded EcoWorld a contract to build 2,400 affordable apartments for the state government worth RM591 million. This contract was awarded without open tender. This goes very much against the principle of transparency and accountability which Khalid’s administration was supposedly championing.

Shortly after that incident as well, Khalid signed a MoU over Selangor’s water resources with the federal government. As he himself admitted, this was done without PKR and Pakatan’s input. Indeed, it was presented as a fait accompli of sorts to the Selangor state exco.

This MoU – as has been argued elsewhere – is manifestly unfavourable to the interests of the people of Selangor, principally because it forced the state government to accept the controversial Langat 2 dam project without any legal obligations on the part of the federal government.

In August 2014, Khalid again acted on his own by signing a Heads of Agreement deal with the federal government. Again, he did this without consulting PKR or any of the other parties in Pakatan. It was not even brought up to his exco prior to the signing.

Despite his earlier resolve, Khalid gradually softened his stand on the water issue. Indeed, the MoU that was signed with the federal government was almost wholly favourable to the concessionaires. It basically left all the cards in the hands of the federal government and the concessionaires without guaranteeing the state government the ability to realistically restructure Selangor’s water assets.

Then of course we have the controversy over the proposed Kidex Highway. Residents of Petaling Jaya from all ethnic groups and walks of life have come out against the project, which is of doubtful utility and linked to pro-Umno corporate interests. At the same time, the creation of a new toll road goes against Pakatan’s principle of gradually eliminating such concessions to reduce the burden on the people.

The chronology of these events also raises concerns. Many of the above-mentioned controversial actions occurred shortly after Khalid got wind of the “Kajang Move”, which was essentially to strengthen the state government by replacing him.

Doesn’t it seem suspicious that Khalid suddenly chose to become so accommodating with the federal government just after it was made clear to him that the party felt he needed to be replaced?

The interesting thing is that Khalid and his camp have never denied the substance of the allegations against him. They have never taken legal action against the many people who have spoken out over these issues.

Indeed, the only thing they did was to basically impinge the integrity of their critics – suggesting that these have political motives or designs on Selangor’s exchequer. But these are serious shortcomings on Khalid’s part from an administrative standpoint – whatever one’s political standpoint is.

Khalid’s actions are not of a disinterested public servant. Indeed, it is hard to see how anyone could benefit from these actions except himself and the vested interests enabling him. Party politics aside, his actions over Selangor’s land and water have damaged the same public interest he claims to be upholding and safeguarding.

We understand that many voters will be confused and angry by all that has transpired. Many efforts were made for a smooth transition to avoid the long-drawn episode Selangor is in today.

For someone who was there when he signed up for the party and served him loyally as his political secretary, this is a doubly sad ending.But what we did was for the greater good of Selangor. We had no other option. Khalid Ibrahim must go.

* This is the personal opinion of the writer or publication and does not necessarily represent the views of The Malaysian Insider.