With opposition leader Anwar Ibrahim failing to get his wife Wan Azizah Wan Ismail any closer to the coveted Selangor chief ministership, their Parti Keadilan Rakyat (PKR) defended, at its national congress yesterday, the move to oust renegade incumbent Khalid Ibrahim which has thrown the state into a seven-month crisis.
Parti Islam SeMalaysia (PAS), PKR's partner in the Pakatan Rakyat (PR) coalition which has ruled Selangor since 2008, has disagreed on terms to endorse PKR president Wan Azizah's candidacy to be presented to the ruler of Malaysia's richest state for his consent.
The Sultan, who returned early from a European trip on Saturday, will meet Tan Sri Khalid this morning with no formal indication from PKR, PAS and third PR partner Democratic Action Party (DAP) that they are unanimous in wanting Dr Wan Azizah as menteri besar.
Closing the congress yesterday, Datuk Seri Anwar lamented Mr Khalid's lack of sensitivity to the problems of Selangor's six million people, resulting in PKR ejecting a man he considers "family".
Secretary-general Saifuddin Nasution and vice-president Rafizi Ramli told delegates how the Menteri Besar refused to attend party meetings or heed requests and orders.
Mr Rafizi hit back at detractors who said Mr Anwar's plan to elevate his wife reeked of nepotism.
"The term Istana Bukit Segambut (Bukit Segambut Palace) came from within the party," he said, pointing to the term critics used in reference to Mr Anwar's home. He added that those who were unhappy with the leadership should challenge them in internal polls or quit the party.
Deputy president Azmin Ali, however, promised that PKR would give the state's residents the best administration possible once the impasse was resolved.
PAS has been unwilling to accede to PKR's wishes, asking on Aug 17 for the names of Dr Wan Azizah and Mr Azmin, who leads PKR in Selangor, to be presented to the palace after finally withdrawing its support for Mr Khalid. Mr Azmin declined the nomination, saying he had to stick to the party line, but sources told The Straits Times that the coalition leadership compromised on having his name sent up should Dr Wan Azizah be rejected.
Thirty of the 56 state lawmakers, including Mr Azmin, have signed statutory declarations endorsing Dr Wan Azizah, but 13 of the 15 PAS assemblymen have held back, ensuring that there will be no PR coalition consensus given to the palace.
The Sultan will likely ask the three allies to offer him one more option after he meets Mr Khalid today, sources said.
PKR sacked Mr Khalid on Aug 9 after he refused to comply with orders to vacate the Menteri Besar post. But the Sultan has allowed him to remain after PR failed to agree on a replacement.
This article was first published on August 25, 2014.
Get a copy of The Straits Times or go to straitstimes.com for more stories.