Selangor Pakatan Rakyat (PR) appears to be heading for a showdown over who should lead the country's wealthiest state as menteri besar, with PKR insisting the “Kajang move” run its course with Datuk Seri Dr Wan Azizah Wan Ismail replacing Tan Sri Abdul Khalid Ibrahim, while PAS prefers to retain the second-term state leader.
In a special meeting with the PAS top leadership earlier this week, Selangor PAS MPs and assemblymen leaned towards retaining Khalid as MB with the question: "What did Khalid do to deserve being replaced?"
The outcome of the meeting would be discussed by the PAS central committee this Saturday, and could decide Khalid's tenure as menteri besar.
DAP, the third party making up the PR coalition, is said to have gone along with the majority sentiment that Khalid has to be replaced, and Dr Wan Azizah is one of the candidates they were willing to accept.
PKR Wanita chief Zuraida Kamaruddin (pic, right) told The Malaysian Insider that Khalid should step down as executive head of the state and let Dr Wan Azizah take over.
She said there was pressure from the grassroots who wanted Dr Wan Azizah to create history by becoming the first woman to hold the post and be the "middle person" to defuse tension between the party and state government.
The view is supported by a PKR leader close to its de facto leader Datuk Seri Anwar Ibrahim.
"The Kajang move will continue... it's just that we need to get full support from Pakatan," he said.
For him, the decision to put Dr Wan Azizah at the top is the best but it should not cause problems for PR.
"If it was Anwar Ibrahim, we would go all out because we know the results," added the source, who was also behind the Kajang move.
PAS central committee member Khalid Samad (pic, left) concurred, saying: "The decision of who gets to be Selangor MB should be decided by the PR leadership council. Each party can make suggestions but the candidate should get the coalition's full support."
For now, the Shah Alam MP told The Malaysian Insider that PAS did not seem to be interested in naming one of its own leaders for the MB’s position.
On Monday, Dr Wan Azizah officially began her duties as the Kajang assemblyperson, attendeing the first meeting of the state assembly's second term after the swearing-in ceremony in the presence of Speaker Hannah Yeoh, following her win in Kajang on March 23.
Zuraida said it was time Khalid backed off, saying the Kajang move was already planned although Anwar could not contest in the by-election.
"The Kajang move has to continue and Azizah has to be appointed as Selangor Menteri Besar," she added.
The Kajang move was engineered to allow Anwar to enter the Selangor state assembly and to replace Khalid as the MB.
The plan was foiled after Anwar was convicted of sodomy for the second time and sentenced to five years jail, disqualifying him from the by-election on March 23.
He was replaced by his wife Dr Wan Azizah, who is also the PKR president, who went on to win the seat, beating Barisan Nasional's Datin Paduka Chew Mei Fun with a 5,379-majority.
Zuraida, the Ampang MP, said she was confident of Azizah's ability to lead the state administration based on her record of heading PKR when Anwar was imprisoned in 1998, holding the position of party president for 15 years.
She is also being seen as able to ward off attacks by Umno-BN in Selangor with the help of grassroots and other parties in PR working as a team.
"God willing, she will be able to. She is qualified and we will help her in all areas as a team.
"We don't want another MB who makes his own decisions. We need one who can work as a team with full support," she added.
When asked about the cause of tension between the party and state government, Zuraida admitted that it was worsening as there was no firm action on leaders who do not want to listen to orders from the party.
"Misunderstandings in the party are normal, but when a decision the party makes is not adhered to, that becomes a serious matter and has to be dealt with disciplinary action; what more if it happens over and over again," she said.
There was tension when the state government decided on policies without referring to any MPs, assemblymen, council members and party members.
The Selangor PKR deputy chief said the party only wanted the state government to hear the views and suggestions of others to be considered, so that the PR-led Selangor government would be able to perform better.
"It is actually easy to handle with a serious disciplinary action. That's all.
"The proof is there but no action has been taken against those who do not follow the party decisions. That is what has caused the situation to worsen."
Zuraida stressed that Khalid must realise that the MB’s post is a party decision and does not lay with him exclusively.
"We put the MB there. We worked hard to campaign with the party's machinery but in the end, we were not even consulted in anything," she added. - April 10, 2014.