May 20, 2013
Finalise the State Exco for Selangor quickly
COMMENT: It is indeed unfortunate that Selangor Menteri Besar, Tan Sri Khalid Ibrahim, has not able to form his own “Cabinet”for more than 2 weeks since GE-13. This is due to wrangling for seats by component parties within Pakatan Rakyat.
The DAP should agree to three seats with a Speaker’s post rather than belabour over allocation of seats in the State Exco.
Let the Menteri Besar run the state as soon as possible. That requires cooperation among the coalition partners, DAP, PAS and PKR. Cooperation means compromise in the overall interest of the state. Penang and Kelantan have done so smoothly. And why not Selangor? –Din Merican
Weathering one tempest, Khalid saunters into another
by Terence Netto@http://www.malaysiakini.com
After coolly weathering the tempest caused by Azmin Ali’s challenge to his chief ministership, Khalid Ibrahim, who took his oath for a second term as Menteri Besar of Selangor last Tuesday, has had almost immediately afterwards to deal with another potentially tricky situation.
The quandary may well cause him to reflect that the tantrum thrown by Azmin was a storm in a teacup compared to what he is presently faced with.
This concerns the composition of the state executive council.
Last Thursday, at a brief meeting of the top Selangor Pakatan Rakyat leaders, the composition of the state exco was set for a four-seat allocation to DAP, with three seats each going to PKR and PAS, the latter enjoying the prerogative of nominating the speaker of the state assembly.
However, matters took an awkward turn after Khalid had a meeting with the Sultan of Selangor on Friday which caused Khalid to change tack.
On Saturday, he tweeted that the DAP has been allocated three exco seats together with the speaker’s post. This meant that four exco seats were to go to PAS and three to PKR.
DAP’s Tony Pua (left), who attended last Thursday’s meeting, promptly remonstrated that the new arrangement was out of sync with the agreement reached at the Selangor Pakatan discussion.
Yesterday, Khalid tamped down the nascent contretemps by letting the DAP know that the discord would be resolved in two days.
How that was going to be possible was hard to envisage given the nature of the problem that had caused Khalid to apparently renege on the the formula for the allocation of state cabinet seats drawn up at the Selangor Pakatan meeting last Thursday.
Khalid’s backtracking was attributed to the Selangor palace’s desire to see seven of the state exco seats occupied by Malay legislators, with four seats reserved to non-Malay reps.
Acquiescing to this behest meant that Khalid would have to restrict DAP to three seats instead of the four agreed to last Thursday, with the speaker-ship thrown it as sweetener.
That approach would have allowed him to include one non-Malay in PKR’s allocation of three seats, what with the DAP’s allotment of three seats guaranteed to be occupied by its Chinese reps which would then bring the non-Malay total in the state cabinet to four, as per the Selangor palace’s wishes.
Faced with a dilemma
But if the DAP were unwilling to accede to the allocation of three seats to it plus the speakership, Khalid would be faced with a dilemma with respect to the palace-requested racial division of seven Malays to four non-Malays in the state cabinet.
The seven ‘Malay’ seats in the exco would then be occupied by legislators composed of four PAS reps, certain to be all Malay, and three PKR ones, who would necessarily be Malay in contradistinction to its multi-racial image as a party.
If Khalid cannot persuade the DAP to be satisfied with three exco seats, with the speakership thrown in, then he has to revert to the last Thursday’s arrangement whereby the DAP would be allocated four seats, and PAS three, with the speaker’s post thrown in for good measure, while PKR gets three seats.
Needless to say, this formula would not be in keeping with PKR’s multi-racial image. If this were all the problems Khalid faced with respect to the composition of the state cabinet, matters would not be comparably daunting.
There is also the matter of the ‘Aku Janji’ pledge that the Selangor palace would want exco members to make after taking the oath of office as members of the state cabinet.
There is a provision on the ‘Aku Janji’ list that requires the state ministers to pledge to abide by all the directives issued by the ruler. This is tricky because of the dilemma exco members would be in when faced with issues where directives are perceived to be in conflict with the interests of people whom they have been elected to represent.
The ‘Aku Janji’ pledge is a legacy of the days of UMNO-BN rule, devised by a mindset that is apt to identify their survival with the interests of the people. That it is being recycled and foisted on a Pakatan administration that has been re-endorsed by a Selangor electorate by a bigger margin than when it was first elected at the 2008 polls can be taken to be a validation of the Shakespearean insight that the bad humans do lives on after them whereas the good is often interred with their bones.
Khalid Ibrahim, by all accounts a good manager in his role as state CEO, may have felt that successfully fending off the challenge of his PKR rival Azmin Ali to his continued occupation of the Selangor MB’s post was cool; he’s just now confronted with a challenge to his mettle as a democratically elected leader of a multi-racial component of a coalition that is wont to deemphasise race in preference to national identity.
How he gets the salience of those democratic facts across to people who can be a little forgetful about the nature of our polity where the monarchy is constitutional – and not peremptory – constitutes the bigger test of his calibre as a leader.