April 16, 2013
GE-13: Battle for Selangor
by Joceline Tan@http://www.thestar.com.my
The state seats contested by PKR in Selangor are among the more vulnerable for Pakatan Rakyat and they will make or break the state government in the general election.
There are probably several reasons why he was in such a good mood.One is that many of the new faces in the line-up are aligned with him and if they win, they will go on to be known as “Azmin’s boys”.He was the key figure in determining the list and his boss Datuk Seri Anwar Ibrahim openly praised him for his work.
Another reason is that he will continue to contest two seats – the Bukit Antarabangsa state seat and Gombak parliamentary seat. And if the gods smile upon him, he may even be the next Mentri Besar of Selangor.
The PKR line-up for Selangor was a much anticipated event, judging by the crowd that filled the football field in Ulu Klang on Sunday night. It was a predominantly Malay crowd and comprised both hardcore supporters as well as fence-sitters. One could tell them apart from the way they reacted to what was said.
The die-hard supporters came dressed in the party colours, sat close to the stage, waved flags and cheered at everything happening.They even cheered when the microphone almost slipped from Azmin’s hand as he was speaking.
The fence-sitters kept to the rear, listening intently to what PKR had in store for Selangor. The second group reflects the growing trend among many Selangor folk who are not attached to any particular party.
The quality of the candidate is important to the people in this group and their vote will go to the side that puts up the better candidate. The days when a banana tree stump could win based on its party colours are over. In fact, many Selangor voters suffered because they were angry in 2008 and blindly voted in people who were not fit to be legislators.
Anwar stuck to the time-tested “30% formula” for the Selangor line-up. One third of the line-up comprised new faces, with the winners making up the other two-thirds.
Most of the problematic faces were dropped, although some said that Anwar could have been bolder and dropped two other MPs, one of whom has been quite unremarkable and who has not said anything significant in Parliament.
Another, according to party people, is “very exsen” (arrogant) and behaves as though he is superior to others. The new faces are professionals ranging from a dentist and a gynaecologist to an economist and a former university professor. They are not the usual political types. The plus side to this is that it will not be politics as usual for them. The downside is that professionals are not naturally sensitive to the people’s problems or needs.
The intense interest in the PKR line-up also had to do with the fact that the Mentri Besar candidate is from the party.
Some thought he was blowing his own trumpet but this is not the time to be shy or modest, especially given that Azmin is a contender for the post.Khalid had hours earlier gone to Port Klang for a function where he announced he would be contesting in the area.
It is rather odd that he should pre-empt Anwar’s official announcement later in the evening. Some thought he wanted to make sure that Anwar or Azmin did not make any eleventh-hour change prior to the public unveiling.
Khalid’s move from Ijok to Port Klang took everyone by surprise. His political secretary Faekah Hussin told reporters that he was the ideal compromise candidate because of the factionalism in Port Klang.
However, for the Mentri Besar to change seats on the eve of the election does not send the right signal to voters. It appears as if the party is not confident of retaining Ijok even with a Mentri Besar as candidate.
His replacement in Ijok, Dr Idris Ahmad, does not have the clout to win in Ijok. Dr Idris is seen as a parachute candidate as well as the sacrificial lamb. He is a 68-year-old gynaecologist who is PKR’s Federal Territories chairman and questions are being asked as to why the party did not field a more familiar local face.
Khalid and Azmin are the only two PKR leaders privileged to be contesting dual seats. Apart from Port Klang, Khalid is also slated to defend the Bandar Tun Razak parliamentary seat.
Their detractors say the two leaders should be more jantan (macho) and man enough to go for broke by contesting one seat instead of “buying insurance” with two seats.
PKR is contesting 11 parliamentary and 20 state seats in Selangor. These 20 or so state seats are critical to Pakatan staying in power in the state because they are the seats that Barisan Nasional, or more specifically UMNO, is eyeing.
These seats will make or break Pakatan in Selangor. Pakatan will continue to be in power if PKR holds on to them. But if these seats fall, then the Pakatan government in Selangor will also fall. The PKR state seats are the seats to watch in Selangor.