PETALING JAYA: The Perak Mentri Besar issue took an unexpected turn when a show of solidarity by state executive committee members saw a thorn emerge from the rosy picture.
All 10 Perak exco members gave their undivided support to Mentri Besar Datuk Seri Ahmad Faizal Azumu at a press conference yesterday.
But less than an hour after the press conference, one of them said that he was there merely “on orders”.
The lone state exco member is Dr Abdul Aziz Bari, who is alleged to have been the voice in a recent audio clip criticising Ahmad Faizal.
During the joint press conference by the exco members in Ipoh yesterday, Abdul Aziz was seen seated together with the rest who were there to express their support for the MB.
When later asked what he was doing there, Abdul Aziz replied in a text message that he was there “on orders”.
“They asked me to come, and not to be stubborn. Everyone knows the ‘game’,” said Abdul Aziz, refusing to say who “they” were and what “game” it was.
Abdul Aziz had denied last Thursday that it was his voice that was on the audio clip slamming the MB.
At the Ipoh press conference, senior exco member Asmuni Awi said all of them stood undivided behind Ahmad Faizal as the MB.
He said the press conference was held to put to rest the controversy arising from the audio recording putting down the leadership of Ahmad Faizal.
In an interview with The Star just a few days ago, Abdul Aziz however claimed that Ahmad Faizal does not have the character and what it takes to be the MB.
“We want a leader, not a joker,” quipped Abdul Aziz.
He said that he was willing to “change shirts” from DAP to Parti Pribumi Bersatu Malaysia if that is what it takes to make him MB, and claimed that he had the grassroots support from Bersatu, provided he is a Bersatu member.
“My (Bersatu membership) form is in the bag. I am not jumping ship, only changing shirts,” said Abdul Aziz.
Bersatu grassroots leader Datuk Hassan Ahmad from Grik said that he is for anyone who is a good leader, but it may not necessarily be Abdul Aziz.
“If Abdul Aziz wants my support, I will give (it to) him. If Ahmad Faizal wants my support, I will give (it to) him. Provided the MB does his work.
“There was never a plot to topple Ahmad Faizal for Abdul Aziz,” said Hassan when contacted.
Abdul Aziz alleged that Ahmad Faizal tends to come late for exco meetings and that the state government was being “run on autopilot”.
“That one (passing of Bills and work of the state government) can be just let go. That one is running on autopilot.
“In fact (his office) tells him, ‘Yang Amat Berhormat, read this, sign here’,” alleged Abdul Aziz.
He claimed that members of Perkasa, the controversial Malay rights group, man Ahmad Faizal’s office and that he had sent a Bersatu Youth leader to give a speech in Bahasa Melayu at a Sikh community event.
That same incident was related to the voice in the viral audio clip, in similar fashion.
Abdul Aziz also accused Ahmad Faizal and his office of not answering phone calls from the public needing their services, and of approving projects that benefited his family members.
Asked if he had any other backing to propel him to the MB seat, Abdul Aziz said: “The palace will not get involved.
“Last time, the opposition was shaky. Now, we (Pakatan Harapan) are the government in Putrajaya. I don’t think the palace will meddle.
“As a scholar, I tell you that (a vote of no confidence at the state assembly) will not happen.”
He was referring to the Perak constitutional crisis in 2009, when the then Pakatan Rakyat state government collapsed after three of its state legislators defected to Barisan Nasional.
The Perak Ruler refused Mentri Besar Mohammad Nizar Jamaluddin’s request to dissolve the state assembly and call for new elections.
Instead, Barisan, with the support of the three defecting assemblymen, formed the new state government.
Meanwhile, in an immediate response, Ahmad Faizal said that Abdul Aziz was merely being a thorn in his side because he wants to become the MB.
“He is being influenced by those ex-Umno leaders who have joined Bersatu but who are not happy that
I have not awarded projects to them.
“As the state Pakatan chairman, when GE14 was over, I tidied up Bersatu and dissolved eight inactive divisions.
“I am the MB for the state and I give projects according to needs, not because you are my party member. If he (Abdul Aziz) says he has the backing, ask him to prove it.
“I may have come late for exco meetings in the early days when I was first appointed, but that was because I had pre-council meetings which must be held before the exco meetings,” he said.
He alleged that Abdul Aziz, on
the other hand, was absent without reason for two exco meetings.
“As for my character, I am
easygoing with everyone – I even attend concerts with members of the royalty. I am approachable to the kampung people (villagers).
“If Bersatu and Pakatan top
leaders were not happy with
me, they would have replaced
me a long time ago,” said Ahmad Faizal.
Senior exco member Asmuni defended Ahmad Faizal, saying,
“It is news to me that someone else has the backing of state assemblymen. Ask the aspiring candidate to name the 90% he claims is backing him.
“Nobody should question our loyalty to our MB as the Perak Pakatan chief,” he added.