Mentri Besar post: Two names in the ring?

Mentri Besar post: Two names in the ring?
The dust is not expected to settle any time soon over the Selangor Mentri Besar issue.

The Mentri Besar crisis will rumble on because the top PAS leadership has indicated that the party intends to propose a second name - also from PKR - for the Palace to consider. 

Tan Sri Khalid Ibrahim had seen off the last of his guests who came for his Hari Raya open house and gone to rest in his room when news came that he had been sacked by his party.

This has been the worst Hari Raya for the Selangor Mentri Besar of six years. It is basically game over for him.

He stayed indoors even as repor­ters camped outside his posh Bukit Damansara house that night. It was the night of long knives for Khalid.

There was a strangely desolate air about the scene outside the house - there was not a single assemblyman or the usual political crowd but only a few of Khalid's political aides who looked rather lost.

Eventually, his political secretary Mustapha Mohd Talib emerged to tell reporters that his boss would not be saying anymore beyond the brief press statement he had issued ear­lier on.

The end has finally come for the man who had been one of Selangor's most popular Mentris Besar but who has been rejected by his own party.

But those who think that PKR president Datuk Seri Dr Wan Azizah Wan Ismail will soon be sitting in the Mentri Besar's office had better think again.

Khalid is not going to cling on but he is a wounded tiger and he is planning to stretch the crisis to the ma­ximum before he calls it a day. He feels hurt and betrayed by the PKR husband-and-wife pair and he is unlikely to give them an easy time from now until he finally steps down.

Khalid intends to seek an au­­-dience with the Sultan to take things forward. But Tuanku is going abroad on Wednesday and will return only on Aug 23. That means a royal au­dience may only be possible after the Sultan returns.

Until then, Khalid is likely to remain the Mentri Besar albeit without a party.

Any move by Pakatan to pass a vote of no confidence against Khalid has to take place after the audience when Tuanku has the authority to call for a special sitting of the State Legislative Assembly.

Palace sources indicated that PKR de facto leader Datuk Seri An­­war Ibrahim has also sent in a formal request for an audience with the Sultan although it is unclear what he intends to bring before the Palace.

The Mentri Besar crisis will get worse before it gets better.

Political insiders told The Star that PAS president Datuk Seri Hadi Awang met his DAP counterparts on Saturday night during which he quashed rumours that PAS was planning to quit Pakatan Rakyat on Aug 17.

That was the good news. The bad news was that PAS will not accept Dr Wan Azizah for the Mentri Besar job. If DAP insists on endorsing her, PAS will proceed to name a second candidate from PKR for Tuanku to consider.

PAS' priority is that the Mentri Besar must be able to carry out the religious duties of a leader to the fullest and this would not be possible if the Mentri Besar is a woman.

The other reason is the fact that she is Anwar's wife. The PAS rank and file has trust issues with Anwar, especially after the Kajang Move.

They are concerned that Dr Wan Azizah will turn out to be a puppet Mentri Besar, with Anwar and PKR strategist Rafizi Ramli pulling the strings from behind. They like and respect her but they have seen her up close and they know what she is capable and not capable of.

PAS politicians also distrust Rafizi. They find him arrogant and blame him for the mess that has engulfed the coalition. They said that Raifizi's ideas had caused his party and Pakatan to lurch from one disaster to another.

Various accounts from PAS have suggested that the second name could either be PKR deputy president and Bukit Antarabangsa assemblyman Azmin Ali or Ijok assemblyman Dr Idris Ahmad.

In the meantime, some members of the PKR supreme council want a stop to the Khalid-bashing roadshow in Selangor.

The roadshow was the brainchild of Rafizi and secretary-general Saifuddin Nasution to explain why Dr Wan Azizah should take over from Khalid but it has become a Khalid-bashing session.

Some party leaders were appalled that such events are being organised to run down the Mentri Besar. They told Anwar not to get involved in it and urged him to stay away from a planned ceramah in Shah Alam where Anwar and his wife were to be the star attractions.

Anwar did not appear but Azizah was up there. However, she did not go on her usual pitch on why she deserves to be the Mentri Besar. Instead she rambled on in a rather vague and inconsequential way about sacrifices that the people had made for the party without expecting rewards and why teamwork is more important than posts.

The lukewarm crowd seemed less than keen about Khalid's remo­val. If PKR's first lady had bothered to go through the comments of her thousands of Facebook friends and followers, she would know that the majority of the people are not convinced that she is the right person for the job.

PKR insiders said the supreme council was prepared to give Khalid more time to reply to the show-cause letter. However, alarm bells went off when they received notice that Khalid's lawyer was planning to file for an injunction on the matter.

An injunction meant that the matter would drag on and the crisis would be prolonged. That was when they decided to take the hard decision of sacking Khalid.

Pakatan was supposed to bring in the new politics but things have begun to look worse than the old politics. The people of Selangor gave them such an overwhelming mandate to continue for a second term and it has all come to this. Has power gone to their head?

Public opinion of the Pakatan go­­vernment in Selangor is bound to dip further after the kangaroo court-style treatment of Khalid.

The political shambles in Selangor has probably cost Pakatan its Putrajaya dream.

And, if they are not careful, it may cost them the state.

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