I liked Tan Sri Khalid Ibrahim (pic) as the Mentri Besar of Selangor.
Selangor voters like me see him as a breath of fresh air, a mentri besar that runs the state like a corporation and without much politics. Especially in his first term in office. I appreciate and will not forget the good that he has done for Selangor.
The political crisis in Selangor shows no signs of resolution. It has become so serious that it threatened to break the Pakatan Rakyat coalition. It took another twist over the weekend with the sacking of Khalid from PKR.
The writer does not have a dossier of sins on Khalid nor is the writer fully convinced that Khalid’s alleged wrongdoings merit his removal.
Yet, Khalid’s stubborn refusal to resign has prolonged the crisis and convinced the writer that Khalid should no longer remain as mentri besar.
The first reason why he should resign is because his former party no longer supports him. Selangorians would like to think the choice of mentri besar is their hands. Or at least, that they should have a say on the matter. There may very well be many Selangor voters who voted Pakatan as an endorsement of Khalid and his government.
Yet, the reality is that Khalid was picked by PKR and supported by Pakatan. This is the Westminster system that we practise. The rakyat picks the party to lead the state, the party then chooses the person to lead the state government. We, as voters, are well aware of this reality when we cast our votes back in May 2013.
His dismissal from PKR strengthens the case against him in this regard. Although legally he is still the mentri mesar, he now lacks moral and political legitimacy to continue to govern Selangor.
It was the party that elevated him to mentri besar, so it should be the party that decides when he should go.
The second reason why Khalid needs to resign is because of the possibility of state-wide elections.
According to the Elections Commission, state-wide elections will cost RM50mil.
While we should not put a price tag this exercise of democracy, the fact of the matter is that this RM50mil is an amount that the taxpayers would have to bear. Especially at a time when many people do not have the appetite to go through another election, so soon after the last general election.
The third and most important reason why Khalid must resign is because of the impact on the people of Selangor.
A mentri besar without a party and who does not have support of most of the members of the ruling coalition will not be able to effectively govern the state.
The writer can foresee resignations of some, if not all of his exco members, either on their own volition or upon orders from the party.
It will be business as usual for the civil service, but for the highest administration of the state, a government rocked with crisis will not be able to focus on serving the people.
The biggest losers in this whole episode are the people of Selangor.
For the sake of Selangor, Khalid must resign.
Why is that Khalid must give in, and not PKR that should compromise and accept him? Because the best and easiest way to resolve this is with Khalid’s consent. Especially when he has been sacked by the party. Not by digging his heels in, not by forcing a vote of no-confidence and not by state-wide polls.
He should not count on the support of Umno or PAS. Umno is not a part of the state government.
As for PAS, with Khalid’s sacking, it would not be right, politically, for them to support Khalid as mentri besar. PAS may have the right to take its own position in the matter, but the ethics of coalition politics dictate that political partners must accept each other’s internal party decisions.
Ultimately, the key is in Khalid’s own hands. If he is indeed a leader of the people, a statesman and not a mere politician, then he should do what is best for the people of Selangor. He should resign willingly. Perhaps he may still save his legacy, before it is completely dismantled by his former allies.
What of PKR, is it blameless in this whole episode?
Oh, PKR’s day of reckoning will come. It will still have to face the people one day and when that day comes, we will see if the rakyat decides to punish PKR for what has happened to Selangor.