Commentary Politics

PKR unlikely to budge in Selangor

The right half of the photo, which is Pakatan Harapan, is in some disarray in Selangor.

The right half of the photo, which is Pakatan Harapan, is in some disarray in Selangor.

Written by Aziz Hassan

Recollections & Reflections – A commentary

DESPITE reaching what was said to be a consensus in naming its choices for prime minister and deputy should it win control of the government come the next general elections or GE14, Pakatan Harapan, the opposition coalition pact that by its very name suggests unity and hope, is in choppy waters in Selangor, with more caustic comments flying back and forth against each other in recent days, contrary to a call by its national supremo that the problem should be resolved internally.

It is obvious that some are not listening to the pact’s chairman Tun Dr. Mahathir Mohamad, who by now should realise that while he used to have the final say as prime minister and Umno president, the scenario has changed since his time in power many years ago.

The issue that is brewing right now in Selangor concerns the allocation of seats and as one of the two dominant parties in the pact in Selangor since GE12 in 2008, PKR is not about to allow anyone to nudge it aside under whatever electoral strategy. Add to this, a PKR man has held the post of mentri besar in Shah Alam since the opposition ousted the Barisan Nasional or more significantly Umno from power in Malaysia’s most developed state, at least infrastructurally.

With PAS no longer part of the pact and the DAP not pressing a case for a more dominant role, the other party left to make noise is Mahathir’s Pribumi Bersatu, with a firm objective of wanting to get the better of Umno and hence, the Datuk Seri Najib Razak-led federal government. Which means Mahathir will then get his sole wish, so he says, of seeing Najib sent into political oblivion.

But while some may agree with his strategy and ultimate objective, a party like PKR is not going to simply allow itself to be treated like a step-child and made to look like a second-class citizen in a state it is comfortably in control. In short, PKR has the track record while Pribumi Bersatu has none.

In 2008 PKR won 15 seats and lost five while five years later it won 14 but had to relinquish one due to a problem with former MB Tan Sri Khalid Ibrahim.

Within the ongoing disagreement, it started when current MB Datuk Seri Azmin Ali accused Selangor Parti Amanah Negara (Amanah) chairman Izham Hashim of lying over the question of seat allocation. Amanah boss Mohamad Sabu then suggested that the issue not be dealt with in public while Amanah communications director Khalid Samad spoke about what could in fact be confusion over two committees.

Whether or not a decision on this has been made or whatever the decision to be made, it looks like PKR is not going to allow itself to be trampled on.

The latest statement is from its vice-president Dr. Xavier Jayakumar, who also chairs the state election committee, makes it very clear that PKR wants to contest all 21 state seats it contested in 2013.

“We are the government, with the MB and deputy leading the chair in the state.”

If this is not a clear statement of intent, then what is?

When asked about the spat, Mahathir said that it should be solved internally. That is stating the obvious, for how else do you resolve an issue like this if not internally, since it is not a dispute that can be brought to court.

If you thought this would be curtains on the issue, you have got it wrong.

Next to join the circus was Selangor DAP man Ronnie Liu with his very personal attack on Azmin, to the extent of describing him as a failure and someone not fit to be Pakatan’s state chairman.

Not surprisingly someone else decided to fire back at Liu while also defending Azmin. This Tian Chua, a PKR vice-president, has done.

At the rate things are going, it looks like this is one issue that is not going to disappear from public view anytime soon.

And with more joining the fray, it’s bound to get merrier.

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About the author

Aziz Hassan

A journalist since July 1976 with both the English and Malaya press and was with two newspaper groups before The Mole. Does corporate report-writing and translation in his free time. Currently also a contributing weekly rugby columnist for the New Straits Times.