Malaysia's Parti Keadilan Rakyat (PKR) expelled renegade Selangor Menteri Besar Abdul Khalid Ibrahim in a dramatic move yesterday, in an attempt to end a seven- month-long leadership crisis in the state.
But the decision could result in more turmoil over how Malaysia's richest state is governed. While Tan Sri Khalid could still operate as an independent assemblyman, he has lost the support of his party and most of the 10-member state Cabinet which contains leaders of the Pakatan Rakyat (PR) alliance.
It also remains unclear if Mr Khalid still commands support from the conservative faction of Parti Islam SeMalaysia (PAS). PKR, PAS and the Democratic Action Party (DAP) - the three PR members - jointly govern Selangor.
But while PKR and DAP had agreed to remove Mr Khalid, senior clerics in PAS had been backing him.
After PKR's meeting, its top leaders said Mr Khalid was sacked as he refused to face a disciplinary panel by yesterday.
The disciplinary board chief, Dr Tan Kee Kwong, told the media that Mr Khalid had also repeatedly disobeyed party orders and decisions made by PR's leaders.
"Therefore, Tan Sri Khalid Ibrahim is expelled from PKR effective immediately," Dr Tan said. Mr Khalid has 14 days to appeal. Mr Khalid said yesterday that he accepted the decision although it was "illegal" and now plans to seek advice from the Sultan of Selangor.
PKR and the DAP want to install PKR president Wan Azizah Wan Ismail as the new Menteri Besar, but PAS has demurred. The Islamic party is to meet next Sunday to finalise its stand on Mr Khalid, but the sacking might leave it with little ground to insist on extending his tenure, said Ideas think-tank head Wan Saiful Wan Jan.
Another way to remove Mr Khalid would be to call for a vote of no-confidence in the 56-seat Selangor legislature. But both PKR and DAP have not done so as they remain unsure of the support from their ally PAS, and also expect Selangor's opposition party Umno to back him.
Analysts say Mr Khalid might not call for snap polls yet if he feels he cannot be defeated in a no-confidence vote.
This article was first published on August 10, 2014.
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