Along The Watchtower

Published: Wednesday September 10, 2014 MYT 12:00:00 AM
Updated: Wednesday September 10, 2014 MYT 7:24:31 AM

Pact runs into discord

The ongoing Selangor MB issue has struck a lethal blow to the future of Pakatan Rakyat. 

ARE we seeing the end of Pakatan Rakyat as we have known it since 2008?

With the ongoing spite, insults and accusations of treachery between PAS and its erstwhile allies DAP and PKR, it sure looks like it.

The Selangor Mentri Besar crisis has exposed the stark contradictions among Pakatan Rakyat component parties and unleashed the simmering mistrust within.

As a Sin Chew columnist aptly described it last week, the standoff over the MB issue has shown that their differences are not just limited to ideologies but also the greed for power.

Many of their supporters have been left confused, betrayed and disillusioned by the prolonged disarray in the pact.

The diehards among them might not want to remember this but the root of the quandary is PKR’s ‘Kajang Move’ to replace Tan Sri Khalid Ibrahim as Selangor Mentri Besar.

Let’s not forget PKR’s strategic director Rafizi Ramli’s host of vague reasons for the impending by-election in the wake of doubts and anger over the sudden resignation of then Kajang assemblyman Lim Chin Cheh.

According to the explanation in his blog on Jan 29, the by-election was to deal with a supposed power struggle in Umno leading to a potential rise in racial and religious controversies, to make Selangor a model state, turn it into a launch pad for Putrajaya and fortify Pakatan in the state.

“I hope that one day when we are in Putrajaya, we can look back to the difficult days of what will be called the ‘Kajang Move’ as the game changer in our quest for Putrajaya.

“I honestly hope that it will be our defining moment that allows us one step closer to Putrajaya,” he wrote.

It has certainly become a game changer in many ways, including how voters now view the coalition as a viable alternative to Barisan Nasional.

PKR leader Datuk Seri Anwar Ibrahim was supposed to be the Kajang by-election candidate but the plan was foiled when the Court of Appeal overturned a High Court ruling and found him guilty of sodomising his former aide Mohd Saiful Bukhari Azlan.

Anwar’s wife and party president Datuk Seri Dr Wan Azizah Wan Ismail, who stood in his place, won the state seat and was later named as Khalid’s replacement, sparking the crisis.

PAS president Datuk Seri Abdul Hadi Awang and other top leaders were clearly against PKR’s move to remove Khalid and name Wan Azizah as the sole MB candidate, although the decision was quickly endorsed by DAP.

Even after Khalid was sacked by PKR, PAS refused to name Wan Azizah as the only candidate.

Instead it put forward two names, Wan Azizah and PKR deputy president Azmin Ali, who promptly declared that he would not accept the nomination.

In spite of another letter from the palace seeking more than two names each from the parties, PKR and DAP stubbornly stuck to only naming Wan Azizah.

PAS responded by nominating three of its own representatives, effectively striking the killer blow to Pakatan’s future as a coalition.

Hadi even told those in the party’s pro-Anwar faction, who are reportedly planning to set up a rival party, to leave if they want to, likening them to mere mosquitoes.

But in defiance of Hadi and the party’s powerful Syura council, deputy president Mohamed Sabu, who is aligned with Anwar, insisted that PAS would reject the nomination of any of its members.

The bitter fight is now out in the open with dirt exposed and insults hurled from both sides.

Even PAS spiritual leader Datuk Nik Aziz Nik Mat has joined the fray by calling PKR “spoiled brats” for trying to shove Wan Azizah as the only choice.

Too much water has since flowed under the bridge, with Selangor Sultan Sharafuddin Idris Shah openly expressing his displeasure with PKR and DAP for their insolent stance.

He has now declared that one of 25 Muslim assembly representatives from Pakatan could become the next MB.

Article 51 of the state constitution states that the mentri besar must be a Malay and a Muslim.

PAS and DAP have 15 members each in the 56-seat assembly while PKR has 13. Barisan Nasional has 12 while Khalid is an independent after being sacked by PKR.

Article 53 (2) requires that the Ruler shall appoint a mentri besar who, in his judgment, is likely to command the confidence of the majority of the members of the House.

But the discretionary power that the Ruler wields is spelled out under Article 53 (4):

In appointing a mentri besar, the Sultan may at his discretion dispense with any provision in the state constitution restricting his choice of candidate if in his opinion it is necessary to comply with the provisions of the Article.

The sentiment among many of my pro-Pakatan friends, from one particular community, is that PAS is the dastardly villain and traitor in the Selangor MB issue.

By the way, these were the same people who proudly declared that they would vote PAS, if there were no DAP or PKR candidate standing in their constituencies during last year’s general election.

One, a former staunch DAP supporter, however, said the Selangor MB crisis had finally opened his eyes about political hypocrisy.

As he put it, DAP leaders who once used to mock MCA by accusing the party of being under “Umno’s sarong” now appeared to be very comfortable under “Anwar’s sarong” instead.

> Associate Editor M. Veera Pandiyan likes this quote by George Orwell: Political language is designed to make lies sound truthful, murder respectable and give an appearance of solidity to pure wind.

Tags / Keywords: M. Veera Pandiyan

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