PKR's Kajang Move: A plan gone awry

PKR's Kajang Move: A plan gone awry
The result of the Kajang by-election, in which Datuk Seri Dr Wan Azizah Wan Ismail has replaced her husband Anwar Ibrahim as candidate, will only be known on March 23, but it would appear that Selangor's Menteri Besar Khalid Ibrahim has emerged the winner from the ill-fated Kajang Move.

A MISSING airliner, political fatigue and a horrible haze. These are some of the things that have overshadowed the battle for Kajang in Malaysia.

Datuk Seri Dr Wan Azizah Wan Ismail did not exactly have all the answers when she faced the media a day after nominations for the Kajang by-election.

She spoke in that soft, hesitant, girl-like voice of hers. She was not nervous - in fact, she was quite calm and collected, but you could tell that she was trying hard to focus her thoughts as she responded to questions on what she had to offer for Kajang.

The members of the media are quite used to her reticent demeanour. They tend to go easy on her because they know she is still, after all these years, the incidental politician and that she will always be the dutiful wife. They appreciate that she does not pretend to know everything but she answers questions as best as she can and does not twist and turn things like some politicians.

Some said that Kak Wan, as she is known to all, was as surprised as everybody else to be thrust onto centre stage in Kajang. Others said she had been on the ready to stand in for her husband all along but no one could tell for sure because politics and family tend to overlap in Parti Keadilan Rakyat (PKR).

Dr Wan Azizah has tried to keep things simple, unlike opposition leader Anwar Ibrahim who had marketed himself as the answer to racial and religious tensions in Selangor.

Although a big billboard in town had the slogan, "Dari Kajang ke Putrajaya - Wan Azizah untuk Kajang (From Kajang to Putrajaya - Wan Azizah for Kajang)", her manifesto boiled down to a few basic goals. She told reporters that she is concerned about the traffic problems in Kajang, she wants to tackle security and crime issues, boost opportunities for small businesses and the youth, and ensure maintenance of the town.

The Kajang Move started off as a grand design to ease racial and religious issues but has petered down to solving issues of traffic, jobs and amenities. PKR strategy director Rafizi Ramli, the man behind the Kajang Move, has been left holding the baby.

Party people said Anwar had asked Mr Rafizi to assist Dr Wan Azizah's campaign and he was there at Dr Wan Azizah's side at the press conference. Mr Rafizi, the chief salesman of the Kajang Move, is insisting that:

•the Kajang Move is still on;

•it was not meant to replace Tan Sri Khalid Ibrahim as the Menteri Besar;

•he never said that Anwar would be the next Menteri Besar;

•he went ahead with the Kajang Move despite knowing that Anwar would lose the court decision; and

•Dr Wan Azizah can make a big difference in Selangor.

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