Incumbent Menteri Besar Kedah is a Reactionary Rube and a Political Albatross

April 23, 2012

Incumbent Menteri Besar Kedah is a Reactionary Rube and a Political Albatross

by Terence

COMMENT Kedah Menteri Besar Azizan Abdul Razak’s decline from competent Islamic jurist to reactionary rube has been a sad business.

The Kedah State Assembly’s recent passage of an amendment to an enactment whose effect is to render absolute power to the Mufti and Fatwa Committee detracts from the Sultan’s position as head of the religion in the state.

Besides, the amendment confers autarky status on the State Mufti and Fatwa Committee, something that would be at odds with the philosophy of governance espoused by Pakatan Rakyat.

The measure has drawn a Police report by the Tunku Laksamana Kedah, Tunku Mansor Tunku Kassim, a member of the Royal Council. The move is bound to trigger a crisis because the Sultan of Kedah is revered by his subjects. This controversy is the last thing PAS would want.

NONEWith a general election fast approaching, the contretemps place Azizan’s stewardship of state back where it has been for some years now – in the glare of unwelcome publicity.

PAS must now regret they did not compel Azizan to retire when heart problems briefly laid him low last year; it was said the top leadership pushed for him to resign but backed off when he resisted their importuning.

The leadership had been aware of growing unease with the MB, not only felt by the DAP and PKR complement of the Pakatan Rakyat state government but also by Kedah PAS leaders.

Perhaps the niceties that attend intra-party wrangles in an Islamic party prevented a forceful presentation to the ailing Azizan that he should step aside simply because he was not effective.

The Kelantan Lesson

Anwar Ibrahim was in a more enviable situation when he was faced with the same problem in Penang in 2009 when his pick for the deputy chief minister’s role turned out to be a niggling embarrassment.

However, Fairuz Khairuddin was a nobody plucked from obscurity for the post; Anwar had an easier time easing him out the door. By contrast, Azizan is a senior member of the PAS hierarchy. Telling him to go because he was simply not good was never going to be easy.

The MB was adamant in pressing his claims for retention and the top leadership, with an eye to averting internecine troubles – which could be triggered by an Azizan-led revolt – decided to relent and wait things out.

After all, a general election was rapidly approaching; inviting internecine troubles are not the way to prepare for it.

PAS are mindful of a phase of the history of their administration in their stronghold of Kelantan.
There, in 1977, a schism in PAS led by the incumbent Menteri Besar Mohamed Nasir enabled Tengku Razaleigh Hamzah to plot the ouster of PAS from the reins of government and to inaugurate an UMNO ascendancy that lasted until 1990 when current MB Nik Aziz Nik Mat reasserted the PAS domination.

With that important – and lesson-teaching – phase of their history in Kelantan as background, the top leadership of PAS treaded gingerly when approaching the festering leadership issues in Kedah.

Also, the fact that a general election was in the offing compelled them to tiptoe. Unfortunately, long-germinating leadership issues do not obey the discretion demanded by election year schedules.

These can spurt and twist at awkward moments, leaving proponents of timely, but withheld, action regretting their procrastination.

PAS will need to bite the bullet

Earlier this year, two PAS members of the Kedah State Executive Council announced they would decline reappointment to the council (appointments in Kedah are done on an annual basis).

That was the cue the discontent with Azizan had arrived at a critical mass. DAP and PKR leaders muttering against the maladroit Azizan is one thing: the grumbles can be dismissed as a function of people who do not understand the Islamic style of administration.

However, the frustrations of PAS State Exco members against the MB, as demonstrated in two compatriots’ refusal to be reappointed to the Exco, is a more serious matter.

But if the top leadership of PAS found itself in a bind last year when they attempted to force Azizan’s departure, using his illness as pretext, they were in greater difficulty this time round, what with the general election imminent and the chances of BN regaining the state and PAS retaining it said to be evenly poised.

Azizan again won out in the contest of wills between him and the top leadership in PAS which decamped to Alor Star to work out a compromise. If one felt that the crisis caused by two PAS State Exco members declining reappointment should have induced Azizan to henceforth proceed with caution, he has now suggested it had the opposite effect.

Passage of the amendment to the enactment making the State Mufti and Fatwa Committee an absolutist body is something that is simply not done.

PAS would have to bite the bullet and rid their Kedah leadership of someone who is plainly an albatross. If there is a silver lining in this cloud, it is that there is no mystique that clings to an ulama when it comes to the question of suitability for political leadership.

19 thoughts on “Incumbent Menteri Besar Kedah is a Reactionary Rube and a Political Albatross

  1. In the U.S. it is the Supremacy Clause of the U.S. Constituion. In Malaysia it is Article 4 of the Federal Malaysian Constitution of 1957. What’s the ruse about?

  2. Constructive reforms will never take place with any of the present BN/UMNO leaders unless a completely new government takes over. Malaysian must learn to take charge and vote out any non-preforming government and BN must go.

  3. slowly and slowly PAS is inching towards BN. Soon it’s goodbye Pakatan. Look at Nasharuddin’s statement who is against Ambiga leading the Bersih demo. If you study recent statements, PAS is more in synch with Umno.

  4. This is great. Better that they show their true colours now than when voted into Government and they become like Umno. Oppressive. Economically oppressed by Umno, religion wise oppressed by holier than thou poeple. The claim is Islam is great, the conduct is oppressive. How ? How to support them all? What a farce.

    Umno only cares aboutmoney for a few of their cronies, PAS only wants to opress via religion. So WHERE on earth does that leave the people? WHERE? In Hell.

    We dont have to wait to die to experience hell.

  5. Dont fool us anymore , ever again. Read this over and over people to understand your own religion for crying out loud.

    “fatwa, a nonbinding legal opinion offered by a qualified mujtahid( private legal scholar )in response to a question in Islamic law.The fatwa is often incorrectly translated as a religious “edict,” but fatwas are merely nonbinding legal opinions that do not, by themselves, carry the force of law.”

    Tamir Moustafa,Associate Professor at Simon Fraser University in Canada has a forthcoming article in Law and Social Inquiry entitled “Islamic Law, Women’s Rights and Popular Legal Consciousness in Malaysia.

  6. A reactionary rube, he is. The MB Kedah belongs to the conservative faction of PAS, which is known to be pro-UMNO in the cause of Malay unity. This could, therefore, be a move designed to undermine Pakatan Rakyat in Kedah. There is no reaction from PKR and DAP.

    As I understand it, in order to take effect, the amendment to the said enactment must receive the consent of the Council of Regency or even HRH Tuanku Sultan Kedah. That consent may not be forthcoming.–Din Merican

  7. U all too hard on him, he have his weaknesses but he got his his strength ,
    he is not corrupt and will not tolerate any misuse of state money and to me that is the most important one. Alor Setar has noticeably changed for the better this last 4 years, state revenue increased dramatically during his administration, lots of programme to help the people, no new loans were made.

    All of you bash him as if he only contributed bad things during his tenure as MB and i do not think that is fair at all.

  8. Among BN-UMNO’s nastier creations from the Mahathir era onwards are laws which place decisions and actions made by Ministers and government officials beyond the reach of judicial review by the Court system. Citizens or groups of citizen who disagree with such decisions end up at the mercy of Ministers or officials.
    They are exactly the type of unjust laws which all Pakatan Rakyat parties have condemned.

    How could PAS-controlled Kedah be the one which decides to introduce new cases of such laws ? Is Azizan an UMNO secret agent ?

  9. As I understand it, in order to take effect, the amendment to the said enactment must receive the consent of the Council of Regency or even HRH Tuanku Sultan Kedah. That consent may not be forthcoming.–Din Merican

    Putting your signature on to a law that is void as being ultra vires the Constitution does not make it into law.

  10. I do agree with Mr Bean,” Putting your signature on to a law that is void as being ultra vires the Constitution does not make it into law “,it’s the 15 mins in the Sun that worries me,the Perception put forth,with a clown like Azizan,who needs Umno for us to worry about.

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