constitutional monarchy

Malaysia opposition in crisis (update 16): What is the status of the PR opposition coalition?

As Malaysia moved into its Hari Raya Aidilfitri 2014 celebrations a major political crisis erupted in the opposition coalition. Toward mid-August, the situation escalated with Khalid's membership of PKR taken away on 9 August. On 17 August, the PAS consensus view is talked of as strongly in support of Wan Azizah to be the new Selangor Menteri Besar / Chief Minister. You would have thought this would end the crisis, but a couple of key individuals seem to be causing a gridlock. In the meantime, Malaysia's Merdeka (Independence day) celebrations are marred by a "sedition dragnet" that is catching quite a few opposition politicians and even a senior academic. What gives? This chapter closes with PKR accepting the Sultan of Selangor's selection of Azmin Ali, the party's vice president. This snuffs out what was previously a vehement stance for Wan Azizah. Installation of the new Selangor Menteri Besar was on 23 September 2014. Almost two months on after the Selangor linked Pakatan Rakyat debacle, Hadi Awang of PAS is till not attending at PR council meetings. So, what is the status of the PR opposition coalition?

17 November 2014: PAS Hadi Awang not attending at PR council

DAP raps Abdul Hadi again over absence from Pakatan meetings Updated: Monday November 17, 2014 MYT 7:12:28 AM; PETALING JAYA: DAP secretary-ge­neral Lim Guan Eng has fired ano­ther salvo at PAS president Datuk Seri Abdul Hadi Awang for the latter’s continuous absence from Pakatan Rakyat (PR) leadership council meetings. Lim said since DAP publicly urged Abdul Hadi to be present at the meetings, PAS leaders had respon­ded negatively. “Clearly, PAS misses the simple truth that the DAP central executive committee’s (CEC) unanimous resolution for the PAS president to attend the PR leadership council meetings is to restore public trust and confidence in PR. “This is a reasonable request as Abdul Hadi is the only person in PAS with the sole authority to make decisions. This makes Abdul Hadi’s presence in the meetings necessa­rily compulsory if PR is to function in concert as a coalition as well as to ensure policy coherence and cohesion,” Lim said in a statement yesterday. He said PR could not function properly and it would cause PKR and DAP having to play a guessing game on which decisions would be vetoed by Abdul Hadi if he did not attend the meetings.

24 September 2014. On "political frogs" and sedition

‘Political frog’ not defamatory term, Posted on 24 September 2014 - 12:07am Last updated on 24 September 2014 - 03:10am  by Edmund Lee; "GEORGE TOWN: The High Court today ruled the terms "political frog" or "frog" were not defamatory but merely labels to describe a politician who hops from one party to another. In striking out a defamation suit by veteran politician Lim Boo Chang against former DAP assemblyman Ng Wei Aik, Judicial Commissioner S. Nantha Balan held Lim had failed to prove that the words had a defamatory meaning, as it was clear Ng did not label him as an animal with no human characteristics, as alleged. In dismissing the claim, Nantha Balan ordered Lim, who is former Datuk Keramat assemblyman, to pay RM30,000 in costs to Ng, who is former Komtar assemblyman.... Lim had sued Ng over an article in a Chinese daily on Dec 18, 2011, claiming the latter had referred to him as a person without human character and likened him to a frog.
Lim joined Gerakan in 1984 before jumping to MCA in 1999, from where he crossed over to PKR in 2008, before quitting three years later....."

Malaysia's Anwar Ibrahim targeted in sedition crackdown Updated 24 Sep 2014, 9:02amWed 24 Sep 2014, 9:02am ; "Malaysian authorities have opened an investigation into allegedly seditious comments made in 2011 by opposition leader Anwar Ibrahim, the latest and most high-profile of more than a dozen people charged or under investigation for the crime. In a statement, Mr Anwar's People's Justice Party said he is to be questioned by authorities on Friday.... Mr Anwar's attorney, Latheefa Koya, said the sedition blitz, which has rapidly accelerated in recent weeks, is an attack on free speech that has sparked fears for civil liberties and the rule of law.... In the past two weeks, courts have convicted and sentenced two student activists to prison terms of 10 months and one year...."

23 September 2014. A failed test of mettle?

Some worries from BERSIH about the can of worms that the Selangor move has created (see link below). For this, I'll point to a historian friend who raised this very concern many weeks ago; but his questioning of the political wisdom of the opposition's strategy was unheeded. BERSIH, concludes on the painful Selangor crisis: "As the Rakyat is increasingly losing faith in the electoral process and feeling alienated that their will does not matter in governance, the Pakatan Rakyat must undertake bold steps to restore their faith in elections, democracy and open government."

What bold steps might be in order from Pakatan Rakyat? Today, a rather disappointed Malaysia observer based in Singapore said: "Salmond resigned* when the Scottish referendum failed (did not get a majority acceptance). Did he do anything wrong? Is anyone going to resign over Selangor?"  That sounds very alienated from an opposition supporter. Not sure who might feel obliged to do so though. Indeed, where are Malaysia's men of mettle? I'm not sure BERSIH envisages this sort of action though.
*What Salmond said in his resignation statement: "The last seven years as first minister of Scotland has been the privilege of my life but I think that's a reasonable spell of service, and I think that we have to understand and recognise when it is time to give someone else a chance to move that forward" (quoted here:

Below, some insights, and a nice endorsement of the principles, professionalism and more of new Selangor MB Azmin Ali... by his wife.

News links:

Affirming parliamentary democracy in Selangor — BERSIH 2.0 steering committee
September 23, 2014; SEPTEMBER 23 — While we understand the regrettable difficulties experienced by all parties in dealing with the Selangor crisis, BERSIH 2.0 reiterates our principled stand on the appointment of the Selangor Mentri Besar, that the head of government must be nominated by and accountable to the majority party/coalition support as per Westminster constitutional norms that underline our Constitution.... We maintain that the sanctity of Westminister parliamentary democracy, the very basis of constitutional monarchy, must be upheld at all times. The authority of the ruling party/coalition over the government must be firmly established to ensure responsible governments.... As the Rakyat is increasingly losing faith in the electoral process and feeling alienated that their will does not matter in governance, the Pakatan Rakyat must undertake bold steps to restore their faith in elections, democracy and open government. Selangor after the painful crisis should emerge stronger to lead the nation forward..."

Azmin a principled man, says wife Shamshida; Updated: Tuesday September 23, 2014 MYT 4:08:14 PM; "AMPANG: Principled, professional, patient, passionate and guided by prayers – that’s how Shamshida Taharin described her husband Azmin Ali, the next Selangor Mentri Besar.
Shamshida, 49, who has been married to Azmin for 26 years, said: “He is very passionate and concerned about the party’s outlook and the rakyat. Party comes first for him and he wants to work for the rakyat.” In an interview at their home yesterday, Shamshida said her husband was very meticulous, organised and wanted things to be done in a certain order. She jokingly attributed this to his training – Azmin has a Masters of Education in Mathematics...."

 23 September 2014. Selangor matters

Something for the new Selangor MB to work on - see article immediately below. Although MBPJ is run by a BN-appointed administration, presumably the MB has a lot of say and influence? Will MB Azmin offer a high level of accountability, transparency and participation? Selangorians will hope that the murky origins of this MB-ship does not reflect on how the new administration will be conducted. Concerns from some quarters about "no principle, no change and no hope" need to be smartly laid to rest by a dedicated hard working and clean administration. This should help build back perceptions about and reputations in the opposition damaged by the failed Selangor gambit.

‘Stop pinching pennies’ by sheila sri priya  Updated: Tuesday September 23, 2014 MYT 6:51:43 AM; "ABOUT 11 community leaders and non-governmental organisations are unimpressed by the Petaling Jaya City Council’s (MBPJ) budget spending trend. They have called for more transparency and better public participation in the budget expenditure process. They also urged the council to set up a budget monitoring committee that included residents to have greater oversight on how the money was spent. Friends of Kota Damansara chairman Jeffrey Phang said the allocation for city development was too little compared to the total budget each year.... “It was reported in StarMetro last October that the council only spent 35% of the RM47.8mil allocated for development in infrastructure and other public amenities. We want a bigger allocation for city development in Budget 2015,” he said. In 2012, he said MBPJ had allocated more than RM50mil for waste collection services but ended up spending over RM417mil..... In October 2013, StarMetro reported mayor Datin Paduka Alinah Ahmad saying that she took full responsibility for the poor spending of the allocation for the year. In the report, she expressed her optimism that the allocation for the 2014 budget would be fully utilised in line with the theme “Sustainable Petaling Jaya”. She was quoted as saying, “I take full responsibility... but next year (2014) is the year of action. We are not going to plan any more because we are over that stage. “We are going to tender for projects in January next year,............. Deputy Petaling Jaya mayor Puasa Md Taib said the council always welcomed public feedback.
“We plan our budget based on public participation. Even today, we will have residents share their ideas on areas of their interest for the 2015 budget proposal. “We have categories such as greenery where residents can tell us specially what they want in which park. I would say our budget is a participatory budget between residents and the council,” he said. Puasa also reassured residents that they would give an explanation of how the council allocated its budget and officers would attend to their queries at today’s MBPJ Budget Planning meeting with residents. Registered owners of properties in Petaling Jaya can also attend the meeting...."

22 September 2014. Political exigency rules

The Selangor MB tussle has been a prolonged political shadow play (wayang kulit), with opposition politicians in a tussle over who would get the plum post. Cross party talks were said to be rife. In this messy fracas, three candidates were sought by the Sultan. PKR and DAP who stuck with just naming Wan Azizah. But as the Palace's discomfort with her candidature (how many saw her as a proxy for Anwar?) progressed in recent days, DAP relaxed its stance to say it would be open to a switcheroo if PKR agreed. Recall that the Pakatan Rakyat opposition coalition, appeared to lack the confidence to go for a no-confidence vote against Selangor MB Khalid. Instead of formal procedure, it sought to push the power of the Sultan for an informal switch - akin to the Perak move which Barisan Nasional innovated - but to their ready benefit.  Skillful political strategy and tactics ("the Oscar goes to....?") coupled by inter and intra party instabilities flummoxed PKR and PR (excluding Hadi and PAS who formally did not agree) in its quest to install their choice as the new Selangor MB. Instead, Azmin Azli was selected by the Sultan. Will there be repercussions from PKR's failed scheme and political exigency? It's notable that historians and businessmen fully expected a PKR leadership "cave in"/acceptance as in keeping with character. Many analysts are disappointed at this entire episode. What will voters think and do, now they've seen the warts and all? But some politicians seem sanguine that Selangor voters have no choice but stick with them. The optimists say that all the bad news is now out, so things should surely get better for the opposition. In Malaysia's opposition politics, there has been a major shift in the political ground. Tests of mettle have been found rather wanting. Will the winners and losers just "kiss and make up"? What happens next? For one thing, Selangor residents will look forward to what their new Menteri Besar Azmin Ali will bring to the state.

In the news:

Selangor palace sends out letter appointing Azmin Ali as state chief minister,
Published on Sep 22, 2014 6:59 PM;; "... Mr Azmin of Parti Keadilan Rakyat (PKR) was among three candidates "interviewed" by Selangor Sultan Sharafuddin Idris Shah last week to assess their suitability for the top post... The other candidates were Islamic Parti Islam SeMalaysia's Sijangkang assemblyman Dr Ahmad Yunus Hairi and Chempaka assemblyman Iskandar Abdul Samad.... The letter puts to rest opposition leader Anwar Ibrahim's quest to elevate his wife Wan Azizah Wan Ismail to the position of Selangor chief minister, as well as on the eight-month old crisis in Malaysia's richest state.... Sultan Sharafuddin Idris Shah had repeatedly rebuffed the choice of Wan Azizah, Datuk Seri Anwar's wife and PKR president, to replace PKR leader Mr Khalid Ibrahim... Early this month, the Sultan rebuked PKR and ally Democratic Action Party (DAP) - which had both named Datuk Seri Wan Azizah as their sole choice for the post - for defying his decree that more than two names be proposed to replace the outgoing Tan Sri Khalid, who was sacked by PKR for being uncooperative and abusing his power to clear a RM70 million (S$27.4 million) debt, charges which he denies.... Meanwhile, Mr Azmin Ali said his party has unanimously endorsed him. His comments came after the party's political bureau held an emergency meeting late Monday following the king's letter...."

PKR disappointed by palace’s treatment of Wan Azizah BY ANISAH SHUKRY; Published: 22 September 2014' "PKR has expressed extreme regret over the Selangor palace's treatment of Datuk Seri Dr Wan Azizah Wan Ismail's nomination as Selangor menteri besar. – The Malaysian Insider file pic, September 22, 2014.PKR today said it felt "extreme regret" over the Selangor palace's treatment of Datuk Seri Dr Wan Azizah Wan Ismail's nomination as Selangor menteri besar (MB). It said the palace's ‎appointment of the new Selangor MB, Mohamed Azmin Ali, had tainted the constitutional monarch system and was not in line with the state constitution and the principle of parliamentary democracy. "The PKR central leadership council (MPP) expresses extreme regret over the treatment given by the palace to the nomination of Datuk Seri Wan Azizah, which had fulfilled the requirements of the Selangor state laws with the support of the 30 assemblymen.... "MPP also disagrees with the way the palace handled the nomination process ‎of Datuk Seri Dr Wan Azizah Wan Ismail, who was not summoned for an audience despite having clear majority support," it said in a statement. MPP said that it had accepted Azmin's appointment because it wished to respect Dr Wan Azizah's decision not to prolong the MB saga....."

PKR endorses Azmin Ali as Selangor MB BY MD IZWAN Published: 22 September 2014 - See more at:

After MB impasse, snap polls could be death for Pakatan, say analysts BY EILEEN NG Published: 22 September 2014 - See more at:

8 September 2014. Treason in Selangor?
At every juncture, it seems that the opposition coalition's move to replace the incumbent Selangor Menteri Besar is hitting the "worst case" outcome. From Perak 2008 to Selangor 2014, it appears that the power of the head of state has strengthened immeasurably versus political parties in choosing who will be heading the state government. Lawyers and political experts are examining this turn of events.

Selangor Sultan to look beyond Pakatan nominees for next MB, September 8, 2014;; "The Sultan of Selangor said today he will also consider those not nominated by Pakatan Rakyat (PR) for the mentri besar’s post, in the search for a successor for the outgoing Tan Sri Khalid Ibrahim His Royal Highness Sultan Sharafuddin Idris Shah said he will weigh the names put forward by the three PR parties, but will not limit possible candidates to those proposed by the coalition... “At the same time considering the power to appoint the Selangor mentri besar is to the Sultan of Selangor’s discretion, His Royal Highness will also look at other state assemblymen from Pakatan Rakyat who are qualified and to the Sultan of Selangor’s understanding hold majority support among the state assemblymen,” read a statement issued by his private secretary, Datuk Mohamad Munir Bani. The Sultan said he was disappointed with PKR and DAP for insisting on submitting only one name for consideration as the next mentri besar despite his having requested late last month that they submit more than two names. His statement stressed that the request for more than two candidates to be submitted was by convention, to give the Sultan the option to choose a mentri besar based not only on majority support in the state legislative assembly but also by the candidate’s skills, experience, integrity and capabilities... “The action of DAP and Keadilan is an insult to the Royal Institution and constitutes an act of treason against the Sultan of Selangor’s decree,” the statement said..."

In the news:

Najib chides PKR over MB crisis, cites Dyana Sofya; 8:25PM Sep 7, 2014; Malaysiakini;; "Prime Minister Najib Abdul Razak has launched a broadside on PKR, saying the party failed to understand the Selangor state constitution when it disputed the power of the sultan over the appointment of the menteri besar...."

Whose power to decide on Selangor MB? By Kim Quek  1:00PM Sep 8, 2014;; "...PAS deputy president Mat Sabu and secretary general Mustafa Ali gave conflicting answers to the question of what PAS would do if the Sultan of Selangor decides to appoint a PAS assemblyperson (instead of a PKR representative as agreed by Pakatan Rakyat) as the next menteri besar of Selangor....  Mat Sabu said the party would reject the appointment, while Mustafa said it would leave the decision to the sultan, implying that the party would accept the ruler's choice...."
Here's some musings on the Selangor Crisis.. Changing old guard won’t solve Pakatan’s problem
8:54AM Sep 8, 2014 By Yoursay;

5 September 2014,evening. PAS factionalism.

Under fire, PAS deputy says clueless about (Hadi's) last-minute MB nominees, September 5, 2014;; "...The PAS deputy president also said he was clueless about the reports stating that the party had not submitted Datuk Seri Dr Wan Azizah Wan Ismail and Azmin Ali’s name as its MB candidates after all. “I want to state that what was mentioned by PAS secretary-general Datuk Mustafa Ali last night as reported by many media, that Datuk Seri Dr Wan Azizah and Azmin Ali’s name is not on the PAS candidate list...I have no knowledge of this,” he said in a statement today. Other news reports, Mohamad said, quoted Mustafa as confirming that a PAS state executive councillor had been nominated as an MB candidate. Mohamad did not refute the validity of the two reports, but said that this latest information was not conveyed to the PAS central working committee. “We, the PAS central working committee, do not know of this new name because it was not decided in the PAS working committee meeting which handles the daily affairs and strategies of the party,” the PAS leader added...."

Khalid Samad warns of PAS faction out to end ties with Pakatan, 5 September 2014, PAS moderate Khalid Samad (pic) has warned of a faction in the Islamist party which is out to break its alliance with Pakatan Rakyat (PR) in order to create a more "exclusive" and "chauvinistic" brand of Islam;

5 September 2014. KL political gossip. A social evening out in KL last night. For those who still cared to talk Malaysia politics (most are just plain weary of this), it was all about which politicians had how many meetings with top UMNO leaders, and the key brokers of these meetings. And which names did PAS / Hadi put into the hat for new Selangor MB? Answer: not the expected names i.e. not Wan Azizah (not an unexpected exclusion?) nor Azmin Ali (so much for that big gambit?); see news link below. Some reckon the Selangor impasse could even drag through to November!

There has been for a long time, open talk of a large cohort of highly paid (including many international) political consultants in Malaysia working very hard on lots and lots of strategies, tactics, speeches etc. Those into the numbers reckon that the goal should be for there to be suitable reason(s) to "force" PAS from the opposition coalition, to become an independent party. This should create the most problems for the Malaysian opposition in terms of splitting the vote. But of course, there are differences in opinion on the level of PAS and PKR's appeal among Malay voters under such a scenario. Lots of consensus on Anwar Ibrahim's inevitable incarceration too, but the reasoning other than the psychological factor seems elusive and unsatisfactory. Given such opposition disarray, BN/UMNO should be riding high; so why the internal BN/UMNO mutterings against PM Najib? I asked a senior international professor, who basically said that it's probably "sour grapes."

Apparent instability in Malaysia's high politics (opposition and now East Malaysia?) and its shadowy moves are the order of the day. Is it wishful thinking that if one team (more likely, the opposition?) started to operate differently, things might start to change? So long as top politicians in the entire spectrum favour shadow big deals* (and some also focus so hard on the numbers), it's no surprise the Malaysian voters are getting more confused, and more apathetic if not jaded and shutting them out. It seems that politicians are simply not engaging voters opinions.

*In conversion with said international professor, I was also reminded of the long history of key personalities in the opposition for such tendencies. Hard to expect them to change?

Recent news links - sedition, Selangor MB nominees, secession talk

3 September 2014, afternoon. What's next, Selangor? The Sultan of Selangor has requested the Pakatan Rakyat coalition to submit names for the new Menteri Besar by today. Each party is submitting separately. Yesterday, DAP and PKR submitted individually, both backing Wan Azizah. Today, PAS is due to submit, possibly with two names. The date for the Sultan's formal announcement of the new MB is not known. Presumably, it may be more protracted, depending on how PAS and its second PKR candidate gambit plays out.

What policy focus might Selangor residents expect under a new MB? It was pointed out to me that it was Azmin (surprisingly, not Wan Azizah) who announced some policy ideas; news source: Pakatan to focus on housing, water and transport despite Selangor MB impasse, 25 August 2014;;  "...PKR deputy president Azmin Ali revealed the plans (for Selangor) to The Malaysian Insider as the party prepares to possibly take back the helm of the country’s richest state..."

Pas vs Pas news:

3 September 2014, morning. Gridlock and sedition. The tedious Selangor political crisis still drags on and a slew of sedition charges add an ominous turn to Malaysian politics just at the time that the country celebrates Merdeka or its Independence Day.

The Selangor political crisis shows how a couple of key individuals in the political parties can apparently cause a gridlock in the entire Pakatan Rakyat opposition coalition; the ruling coalition for the state of Selangor. Political analysts talk of PAS (now caught in internal dissension after its supreme council vote diverged from its President's view) seeking to nominate a second candidate from PKR. Some ask if this interesting and intrusive move to influence another party seeks to spread dissension there too? (News item: Selangor MB crisis: Azmin Ali 'pleasantly surprised' at being named as second candidate by PAS, Sunday August 17, 2014 MYT 4:15:10 PM;

But perhaps PKR has things in hand after all? It is spefically reported that Azmin still supports Wan Azizah to be the Selangor Menteri Besar / Chief Minister candidate (which was already stated on 17 August, and now is restated): "PKR is adamant that it will only nominate president Datuk Seri Dr Wan Azizah Wan Ismail (pic) for the Selangor Menteri Besar post, in defiance of the state ruler's decree for all parties in the Pakatan Rakyat opposition pact to submit more than two names by today. Secretary-general Datuk Saifuddin Nasution Ismail said the new central leadership council which met last night reaffirmed its July 21 decision to nominate only the Kajang assembly member. "Deputy president Azmin Ali also reiterated his support for Dr Wan Azizah to be the sole candidate from PKR for the MB post," he said in a statement today" (more here: PKR sticks to Wan Azizah for MB post, 3 September 2014,
At the same time, many sedition charges have been issued by the Najib Administration. Some are calling it a "sedition blitz" and coffee shop talk reminisces of an earlier famous clampdown of Malaysia opposition forces. News links include:
And in other sedition news: Could simply having an opinion be considered seditious?
By Ida Lim, August 16, 2014; "Following the police’s sedition probe against a Penang teenager for “liking” an “I love Israel” Facebook page, human rights activist Datuk Ambiga Sreenevasan has questioned how just having an opinion could be seen as seditious... Maintaining that the teenager’s action does not amount to an offence under the Sedition Act 1948, she said the probe against him would only strike fear in the hearts of Malaysians and deter the country’s youth from voicing their views..."

18 August 2014. Azmin supports Wan Azizah. I missed this late last night! In the face of the now unassailable looking coalition ousting him, Khalid is rumoured to be off to Budapest to talk to the Selangor Sultan. Political insider talk is that he still hopes to extend his tenuous tenure. What is so important that he has to remain as Selangor MB? His overstaying his welcome now seems quite irrational. Businessmen are whispering about Khalid's possible reasons.

PAS leaders respect Azmin’s decision to support Wan Azizah for MB BY MUZLIZA MUSTAFA Published: 17 August 2014; "PAS leaders today said they respected PKR deputy president Azmin Ali’s decision to support his party’s choice of Datuk Seri Dr Wan Azizah Wan Ismail to replace Selangor Mentri Besar Tan Sri Khalid Ibrahim. "We had a discussion at a pre-presidential council meeting. It was done in a very harmonious manner. We respect his decision when he said he is going to support Dr Wan Azizah for the menteri besar post. “We have no problem about her becoming the next MB. In fact, she was our first choice as announced earlier after the PAS central committee meeting," said party vice-president Salahuddin Ayub (pic)...."

The Selangor MB impasse: winners and losers BY THE MALAYSIAN INSIDER Published: 18 August 2014; "So now that PAS has come around to accept that Tan Sri Abdul Khalid Ibrahim needs to be removed as the Selangor menteri besar, it is safe to conclude that the long-drawn and painful Selangor crisis is nearly over. But the fallout from this saga will haunt the players for some time. The Malaysian Insider looks at who has emerged well or with its image soiled from the political stalemate in the country’s richest state...."

17 August 2014 night. Calling the big bluff?

Two substantive events seem to point to the informal end to the protracted "get rid of Khalid" move. Some have described the gambit as "messy and amateurish" on the part of the opposition. It culminated in a political crisis in the state of Selangor and it is crash testing the Pakatan Rakyat opposition coalition. Businessmen and others were wont to say it is better to know who stands for what earlier rather than later and split if the political partners outlooks are too distant and irreconcilable.

The second event (today), is the PAS supreme council members vote that must have been strongly against Khalid (despite the strong support of its leader / President Hadi Awang for Khalid). Some PAS voices have also been widely reported in the media saying that a female is not suitable as Menteri Besar / Chief Minister. The majority in PAS seems to drown out these viewpoints. There is also uncertainty about whether the reported support of Nik Aziz for Khalid was misstated or worse.

The scuttle butt among political analysts is that the PAS vote (for the three names in the pot) garnered more than 60% support for PKR President Wan Azizah to be the next Selangor Menteri Besar. PKR's Azmin Ali (last year's rejected candidate) must have come in second since he was also named by PAS, and Khalid must have trailed in last place (he was not named alongside Wan Azizah).

Thus, it seems that the desperately clinging Khalid does not actually have PAS support, despite appearances in recent weeks. PAS has also seen a public fracture as two of its Selangor state assemblymen broke ranks with their party line to be among the 30 (a majority) of their brethren to swing against Khalid (the earlier, first key event on 14 August). If the talk about a high level of PAS support for Wan Azizah is true, the apparent key formality in the ousting of Khalid and his replacement with the PKR President is the approval of the Selangor Sultan when he returns on 27 August. The PKR "Kajang Move" is set to be fulfilled after side-stepping a glorious mess?

Some KL-ites I spoke to today were pleasantly surprised that PKR itself was tested in this situation and it held up i.e. no "jumpers" to give a majority to the emergent and apparent UMNO and PAS combination supporting Khalid[1]. Observers also wondered what is really driving Khalid's high-handed and clinging ways. Many wondered about his ego, his personality and some were surprised that a "corporate man" lacked the grace to resign when asked by his original sponsors. It also appears that he and others seem to have sorely misjudged the PAS consensus view[2]. Their bluff was called. Crisis over?

[1] The question of DAP jumpers seemed improbable given the key actors apparently driving the political crisis and the hard-line religious administration in Selangor and proposals for "hudud" that would worry DAP key supporters. Taken to the extreme, some observers worried that the Selangor political crisis would even culminate in a Malay versus non-Malay state voting stand off (if PAS went with UMNO to support Khalid). 
[2] While this points to an internal fracture, many will likely find the PAS consensus heartening that it remains in support of the opposition coalition, declines to wrestle the Selangor seat away from PKR (some speculated that Khalid would conveniently join PAS), and is not against having a female state leader.


PAS names Wan Azizah, Azmin for MB; Last updated on 17 August 2014 - 08:45pm  by Adrian Phung; KUALA LUMPUR: The PAS party leadership has unanimously nominated PKR president Datuk Seri Dr Wan Azizah Wan Azizah and newly elected PKR deputy president Azmin Ali as the possible candidates to replace Selangor Mentri Besar Tan Sri Abdul Khalid Ibrahim... In annnouncing this, PAS deputy president Mohamad Sabu said this was the decision taken by all its leaders who attended the special central working committee meeting which convened today at 10am to brainstorm on the situation brewing in Selangor, especially on the removal of Khalid as the MB...The meeting was chaired by PAS president Datuk Seri Hadi Awang (pix)... Mohamad Sabu refused to answer reporters’ repeated question on why PAS nominated Azmin, but said that the party will not claim the Selangor MB post from PKR... He said PAS respected the prevailing spirit in Pakatan in nominating the candidates... Earlier, PAS supporters who arrived at the party headquarters in Jalan Raja Laut here as early as 8am, were seen holding cards that read “We are PAS member and we support our president”... The Selangor government leadership crisis started when Khalid refused to resign from his post to give way to Wan Azizah to become the MB as directed by his party. Following his refusal, Khalid was sacked by the party but he was retained as the MB after the Sultan of Selangor, Sultan Sharafuddin Idris Shah, granted him an audience... In an immediate reaction, Khalid said he accepted with an open heart the PAS central committee’s decision and would seek an audience with the Sultan to advise him on the next course of action to be taken... The Sultan is currently overseas and will only be back on Aug 27..."

Actions by two Selangor ADUNs unprecedented, says Pas sec-gen  By NST TEAM - 15 August 2014 @ 8:32 AM, "The decision by two Selangor assemblymen from Pas to break ranks with the party by supporting the ouster of Menteri Besar Tan Sri Abdul Khalid Ibrahim is unprecedented.
Yesterday, PKR president Datuk Seri Dr Wan Azizah Wan Ismail claimed that 30 Selangor assemblymen, including herself, had signed a statutory declaration to express their loss of confidence in Khalid’s leadership... Among them included two assemblymen from Pas, Shaari Sungib (Hulu Klang) and Hasnul Baharuddin (Morib)... “I would like to clarify that they (the two assemblymen) did not act upon the party’s instructions..."

Step down, I have got the majority, Wan Azizah tells Khalid Published: 14 August 2014; "PKR president Datuk Seri Dr Wan Azizah Wan Ismail today urged Tan Sri Abdul Khalid Ibrahim to resign as Selangor menteri besar after announcing that she had the support of 30 assemblymen in the 56-seat state assembly. Apart from the backing of 15 DAP and 13 PKR assemblymen, Wan Azizah said that she also had the support of two PAS reps – Hasnul Baharuddin (Morib) and Saari Sungib (Hulu Kelang). Both PAS reps were present when Dr Wan Azizah made the announcement at a hotel in Subang Jaya this afternoon... The two joined the 28 other state lawmakers from PKR and DAP in declaring their loss of confidence in Khalid. This means the two-term MB has lost the majority support of the 56-seat assembly... Embattled Khalid currently has support from opposition Umno which has 12 representatives as well as himself. Khalid is now an Independent candidate after he was sacked from PKR last week for defying party orders to make way for Dr Wan Azizah. Islamist party PAS has 15 assemblymen in the state, of which 13 have yet to declare their stand..."

13 August 2014 - I haven't been posting much on this as it's been a litany of "he said - she saids" and no concrete action. That is until the 9 August 2014 expulsion of Selangor Menteri Besar Khalid from PKR (we hear this was triggered by an external event, else PKR non-action might have just continued on). Thus, Selangor has had in recent days a Chief Minister who's not apparently a member of any political party. As Khalid continues to dig in his heels, he has received explicit UMNO support and PAS implicitly supports him; with its Selangor members waiting on a PAS meeting (which has been delayed once already - for lack of urgency?) on the matter.

Khalid has in the meantime sacked the Selangor State Exco members belonging to PKR and DAP, but of course not the PAS or UMNO members. Read more: Sacked Selangor excos can turn to sultan for relief, say lawyers, 13 August 2014;
Many Malaysian urbanites (KL and Singapore) I talk to see this as a glorious fiasco of indecision and lack of planning on the part of a disintegrating opposition coalition, rent apart by the direct actions of Khalid and Hadi-PAS. Most people who are normally interested to chat about Malaysian politics are now quite disappointed and disinterested. They are losing hope as they face the confusing and inexplicable Selangor shenanigans.  In the midst of this, there's a write-up by PKR state assemblyman Nik Nazmi on his experience working with Khalid in the past and Khalid's problematic approach to dealing with the opposition coalition and his own party; Why Khalid must go, 12 August 2014,

Many are asking if the Sultan has rejected PKR's Wan Azizah as a candidate to replace Khalid. It is been reported as such in several newspaper reports but the details of an earlier article seems to imply that Anwar Ibrahim trying to talk to the Sultan with her was regarded as "not due procedure" as he does not have the formal standing to do so - see this: Sultan turns down Wan Azizah’s request to explain Selangor MB crisis, at: Also, Anwar's participation in this manner would perpetuate the view that it would be a "puppet" situation. PKR leadership's approach on this matter would likely need to change significantly if they are serious about Wan Azizah's candidature. Else, a new candidate is widely talked about in the news: Dr Idris would be a compromise, and Azmin Azli is mentioned too. However, the latter was last year rejected as MB candidate by DAP and PAS, resulting in Khalid being supported by the then opposition partners into a second term, against PKR's wish to change the Selangor Menteri Besar.

6 August 2014 - The agony continues for PKR. People start to feel that each side of PKR vs Khalid has long been playing by a different set of principles, with different coalition partners and with different level of political determination.

‘PKR should not be held to ransom by Khalid’ 8:51AM Aug 6, 2014;; "Fernz: The ‘show cause’ letter is the right move. However, the letter should have been on bringing the party into public disrepute and contempt. No need to get into all the nitty-gritty details. Can the party ask him to resign as the MB? Indeed, the state assemblymen can sign a petition to the sultan expressing ‘no confidence’ in Khalid and putting forward Dr Wan Azizah Wan Ismail's name as the new MB.  This happened to Sabah Chief Minister Joseph Pairin in 1994. Pairin had no choice but to resign after the governor reportedly did not agree to hold fresh elections....Senior: Yes, wrong move... The MB has to have the confidence of the majority of the assemblymen to remain in his post. What if he has PAS and Umno backing him?..."

PKR letter kills peace talks, Updated: Wednesday August 6, 2014 MYT 7:49:05 AM,; "Khalid’s political secretary Azman Abidin insisted that no decision was made during PKR’s political bureau meeting on Sunday to issue Khalid with a show-cause letter. He said he had advised Khalid to reply to the show-cause letter which was handed to him yesterday because, if he did not do so, the party may expel him. “However, even if this happens, Khalid will remain as MB as no one has the locus standi to remove him,” he said yesterday.
Azman claimed he was instructed to set up a meeting between Khalid and PKR president Datuk Seri Dr Wan Azizah Wan Ismail and it had been scheduled. “The meeting was supposed to be held on Monday night but it did not take place.” He said Khalid became angry after PKR secretary-general Datuk Saifuddin Nasution Ismail issued a statement earlier that day about a 40-page supposed exposé, including allegations over a multi-million loan from Bank Islam involving the Mentri Besar....."

5 August 2014 - PKR finally publicizes its reasons. Official reasons* were requested by Niz Aziz, but some analysts criticize this as "the wrong strategy."  PAS said to name an alternative candidate for Selangor MB and also to hold a special prayer for Khalid to stay.
*not detailed before??

Six reasons why Khalid must go, according to PKR August 5, 2014; "Tan Sri Khalid Ibrahim’s performance as Selangor mentri besar may have been “good and satisfactory” during his first term but according to PKR, missteps taken by the leader as he entered his second term have cast doubts on his level of integrity and ability to work as a team player. From this, the party leadership has put together a comprehensive report listing down six key reasons why Khalid should no longer helm the country’s richest state The report, announced yesterday, was distributed to DAP and PAS today in PKR’s bid to convince its allies that Khalid should go before his term expires... It listed Khalid’s questionable out-of-court settlement with Bank Islam, Selangor’s water restructuring deal with Putrajaya, the Kidex highway project, as well as issues of garbage collection, potholes and the increase of business license fees in the state, as its reasons for wanting the mentri besar replaced.
In the report titled “The Decision to Replace the Selangor Mentri Besar” that was sighted by Malay Mail Online, the Pakatan Rakyat (PR) party cited Khalid’s out-of-court settlement with Bank Islam over his RM70 million debt to the bank as the first reason for his ouster, saying the circumstances surrounding the deal had placed his integrity under suspicion....PKR said the report was written to fulfil PAS spiritual adviser Datuk Nik Abdul Aziz Nik Mat’s request for the party to give official reasons for wanting to change the Selangor MB...."

Vote out Khalid, not hurl mud, say analysts, Published: 5 August 2014; "Analysts say instead of exposing Tan Sri Khalid Ibrahim's alleged wrongdoings, Pakatan Rakyat (PR) should hold a vote among its 44 assemblymen in the Selangor state assembly on whether to retain him.... Political scientist Dr Wong Chin Huat argued that PR could possibly lose Selangor if a vote of no-confidence is held now, or if a state election is called... The forum’s panelists criticised the PKR’s decision yesterday to reveal a 50-plus page report that supposedly detailed “integrity issues” with Khalid. Coming out with a dossier at this juncture was the wrong strategy, said Wan Saiful Wan Jan who heads the think tank Ideas..."

PAS to name Ijok rep as ‘compromise candidate’ in Selangor MB saga, says report Published: 5 August 2014 PAS;

Respect our right to choose Selangor MB, PKR tells PAS; 5 August 2014;

PAS ulama to hold special prayer to ensure Khalid stays as MB;

4 August 2014 PKR document on Selangor MB to be circulated
A 50-page document is being released to opposition coalition leaders tomorrow by PKR to detail the doubts surrounding Khalid. A tad surprising given that PKR's Tian Chua was recently strongly in support of Khalid retaining an important role (reported on Astro Awani, owned by BN-linked tycoon Ananda Krishnan). This prompted some to wonder if his statements were in preparation for a cave-in by the PKR leadership i.e. to retain Khalid. The upcoming dossier indicates otherwise and opposition sources reiterate that there was a unanimous vote by PKR to remove him; so Tian Chua could be stating his personal opinion? Also, Astro Awani wrote about a readership poll which showed support for the incumbent Selangor MB; but without indication of methodology and numbers. Undoubtedly, other polls will be done. For public reaction to be strongly negative on Khalid, it is likely that more information will have to finally percolate into the public sphere - which may come via PKR's upcoming "Khalid Dossier." Some political observers like to point out that the BN-linked media has been supportive of Khalid staying on as Selangor MB. Social media has also seen a rise in anti-Khalid commentary, many asking why he has refused to resign when his party has asked him to. Khalid's continued survival as Selangor MB is now apparently dependent (rather unthinkably) on the patronage of PAS and UMNO.

News links:

Report me if you have proof, Selangor MB tells PKR colleague, AUGUST 4, 2014; "Linked to dubious business deals, Selangor Mentri Besar Tan Sri Khalid Ibrahim challenged today PKR to report him to the authorities but told them they must be able to prove the allegations that have cast a shadow on his integrity. The PKR state lawmaker warned his party colleague that he may take legal action for the defamatory statements against him, saying the allegations have invited speculation that they were “politically motivated and in bad faith”.... The report which includes notes from party meeting minutes as well as court proceedings, will be delivered to the top PR leadership starting tomorrow. Despite the accusations, Saifuddin said the party has not lodge any report with the country’s anti-graft body or with the police.... PKR has attempted to remove Khalid since the “Kajang Move” in March to replace him with Anwar. A court decision days before the nomination day however, indirectly barred Anwar from contesting the state seat, which led Wan Azizah to contest for the Kajang seat vacated by the party’s own Lee Chin Cheh, and won.... Although DAP and PKR leaders are reportedly in agreement to remove Khalid, a faction in PAS, led by the Islamist party’s president Datuk Seri Abdul Hadi Awang and several other powerful leaders, has questioned the move and even showed strong backing for Khalid...."

Selangor MB crisis: Bring it on, Khalid tells PKR by rahmah ghazali; Updated: Monday August 4, 2014 MYT 4:51:16 PM; "..... the Selangor Mentri Besar said the party should immediately report him to the authorities if they believe the allegations to be true. “If Datuk Saifuddin believes them to be true, he and his associates should immediately lodge a report with the Malaysian Anti-Corruption Commission, the Royal Malaysian Police and Bank Negara, as well as immediately expose any all evidence to substantiate his claims. ... the document detailed court cases where Khalid was involved in an out of court settlement with Bank Islam over the RM66.67mil Kumpulan Guthrie Bhd shares when he was the group’s chief executive officer. The 40-page document also highlighted a land deal to a public-listed property corporation under the state government’s affordable housing programme below a market price.The copies of the document would be distributed to all Pakatan Rakyat leaders beginning Tuesday...."

Wan Azizah to become MB, Khalid will not be sidelined - Tian Chua; Astro Awani | Updated: August 03, 2014 “We are not getting rid of Abdul Khalid; each of them has a role to play. Even if Wan Azizah becomes MB, Abdul Khalid will still play a role in the Selangor’s administration,” he added. Tian Chua also voiced confidence that the transition will proceed smoothly...." Read more at: 

Poll: Majority wants Abdul Khalid to be retained as MB; Astro Awani | Updated: July 30, 2014
 (First published on: July 30, 2014 11:32 MYT); " The majority of Astro AWANI readers want to see Tan Sri Abdul Khalid Ibrahim retained as the Selangor Menteri Besar following the present political dilemma in Pakatan Rakyat. According to a poll conducted by Astro AWANI on Monday, 62.42 per cent want Abdul Khalid Ibrahim to remain in his post. Trailing behind is PKR president Datuk Seri Dr Wan Azizah Wan Ismail who garnered a total of 9.11 per cent. Selangor PAS commissioner Iskandar Abdul Samad received 4.64 per cent votes followed by PKR deputy president Azmin Ali received 4.34 per cent votes. A total of 19.49 per cent however voted that they do not want any of the four names suggested in the poll as the Selangor MB....A total of 50.04 per cent were of the opinion that Pakatan Rakyat is headed for 'splitsville' after the Hari Raya Aidilfitri celebrations, and 31.74 per cent agreed that the coalition party will remain intact...." Read more at:

3 August 2014.

Questions on style and policy?

Opposition leaders are reported to be talking (see article link below) but no answers yet about the crisis. No real developments. Some headlines in local news asking if PKR is going to take disciplinary against the Selangor Menteri Besar Khalid Ibrahim.

I met up with a political economist yesterday. Some analysts are wondering why Anwar could not persuade his partners to agree on the Selangor MB ouster a lot earlier if the reasons were compelling. Thus, some are not quite buying the reason that PKR lacked the numbers to push change as surely some issues are "beyond numbers"? Hard to think of the "what ifs" but what is true is that the big changes erupted to surprise the public because this was all done in traditional behind-the-scenes political maneuvering.

Questions arise about this chosen style and approach. Comparisons can be made to Indonesia's recent presidential election where the more open and inclusive politics of the Jokowi-JK campaign prevailed over the "cloak and dagger" traditional politics of an apparent strong business push for the Prabowo team. Might Malaysia politics learn to switch to a more open and consultative approach too?

The Jokowi-JK "visi misi" manifesto talks about breaking business-political linkages. Many agree that the entire political spectrum in Malaysia appears mired in this, including on property development and concession projects. There is a possible change in Indonesia with Jokowi putting forth three candidates for each ministerial position and inviting the public to provide their views. This might be an attempt to short-circuit the usually comfortable situation where business donors (or their nominee professionals) and important political agents are a shoo-in to ministerial positions - and this happens in many countries. Business-political links or the capture of the political process by business interests have been blamed for the disassociation of public policy with the advancement of the interest of the average voter the world over.

Malaysia politics (incumbent and opposition) is still dealt with mostly in the shadows with an apparent preference for "the big deal" - for example, to swing over support of states and parties (notably East Malaysia and also northern Peninsula) and also individuals or groups thereof to get the right numbers.

Some friends in KL recently told me in the wake of the opposition crisis that they might choose not to vote the next time (urban voters are largely opposition supporters). It would seem that some voters are thinking that they see insufficient difference between the two political camps in terms of principle, policy and style. Some analysts also tell me that they fear a rise in spoilt votes in the future. Hopefully, politicians start listening to voter opinions instead of themselves.

News link: Pakatan leaders vow to strengthen troubled pact, 4:58PM Aug 2, 2014; Top Pakatan Rakyat leaders today pledged the strengthen the opposition coalition amid strains within its component parties, which are at odds over whether to replace Selangor Menteri Besar Abdul Khalid Ibrahim.

30 July 2014 morning:

Selangor MB crisis: State polls breaking point for Pakatan By Shazwan Mustafa Kamal, July 29, 2014; “The issue boils down to a choice between Pakatan or Tan Sri Khalid. If PAS still backs Khalid, PAS risks its relationship with PKR, DAP who want Khalid out,” (said Khalid Samad, a Selangor PAS federal lawmaker)....“You have to differentiate Hadi’s position and the position of other PAS leaders. Hadi supports Khalid, for reasons known to him, but other PAS leaders have agreed as part of a PR consensus that Khalid has to be removed,” one Selangor DAP leader said on condition of anonymity. Ibrahim Suffian, the director of pollsters Merdeka Center, said that calling for a state election would almost certainly result in a permanent rift between PAS and its PR allies, but added that Hadi’s open defiance is “not completely new”. Ibrahim pointed out that as an ally, PAS has not always been “completely loyal” to PR, and that under Hadi’s leadership, the Islamist party had repeatedly entertained unity talks with rivals Umno for the sake of “Malay unity.” “The question now is how far will PAS party leaders go along with Hadi’s stand? And if PAS wants to remain and preserve ties with Pakatan, should Hadi himself be given the mandate to continue to lead? Is he leading PAS in the right direction?” the political analyst told Malay Mail Online.

From a chat yesterday with a Malaysia political economist: "I think another key reason why PAS is opposed to Khalid's removal is because the conservatives there don't want a woman (Wan Azizah, wife of Anwar Ibrahim) as MB. The point that Anwar, not PAS i.e. Hadi Awang, dictates the Pakatan Rakyat (PR) agenda also merits more thought. While much of the focus is on PAS leaving PR, there should be more discussion about the split in PAS, between the so-called moderates and the conservatives."

Some wonder why Khalid Ibrahim was not ousted more decisively early on. Opposition-linked sources say that their coalition had to build consensus on it as PKR did not have the numbers in Selangor to push for rapid change. Khalid also had strong support from DAP and PAS until recently. A political analyst said to me yesterday: "(This crisis) is Murphy's law at work. (During the Anwar ousting) Mahathir had power over the state, even when "50 reasons" (a "surat layang" book to smirch Anwar's reputation) came out, it took 18 months before the ouster happened... I think the PAS internal fight is critical because PAS has longer term viability compared to PKR*... Seems like (PAS moderates will) stand up but I am sure something weird or unexpected will happen."
*Some worry about the national vote implications for PKR which lacks its own effective political machinery and has relied on PAS for much ground support for campaigning and more. Thus, any major change in the PAS position within the opposition coalition may also require significant changes within PKR.

I forgot to post earlier on this news which is since being contested on its legality:

 No Raya cash aid for settlers who sue Felda;; "Settlers who take legal action against the Federal Land Development Agency will not receive Hari Raya cash aid, the agency said.... They will also not receive dividends from Felda Global Ventures Holdings Bhd (FGV) for shares held..... A Felda spokesperson said this also applied to those who illegally sell their Felda-allocated land to third parties.The decision was to "safeguard the interests of other settlers who contributed to Felda’s development", the spokesperson said..... PAS journal Harakahdaily reported today that about 50 settlers from Felda Bera and Felda Rompin lodged police reports after they were denied FGV dividends and Hari Raya aid amounting to about RM1,000 each. The party organ said they are part of more than 1,000 settlers nationwide who were not given the Hari Raya aid or dividends.... Prime Minister Najib Abdul Razak (left) earlier announced that 112,635 Felda settlers will receive FGV dividends of RM647.78 per person, amounting to RM72.9 million. Felda was also allocated RM30.5 million for Hari Raya aid of RM300 per settler family...."

Background information on Felda-settler lawsuits - excerpts from my paper with Kajian Malaysia: "Another opposition strategy regarding FELDA was stirring discontent between settlers and FELDA over alleged unfair (under)payments for their produce. A key figure in this was lawyer-cum-parliamentarian R. Sivarasa of PKR who served as lead counsel in some of the cases. Various settler lawsuits were filed against FELDA on its alleged cheating in grading their fruit, over a) a too-low oil extraction rate (OER) accorded the settlers and b) disqualified fruit bunches which were neither paid for nor returned to the settlers.  The most recent lawsuits claims of losses per settler amount to RM 30,912 (due to an overly low OER ) plus RM 1,344 (for disqualified bunches) = RM 32,256 in just one year. One of the settler lawsuits claim this for 17 years; thus coming to nearly RM 550,000 per settler....A full list of settler lawsuits against FELDA is not readily available. There have been at least 23 lawsuits filed. 18 cases against FELDA have been officially reported by the Prime Minister’s Department, and up to February 2011, they are as follows: 12 have been decided by the courts with the only loss for FELDA being the technical loss in the FELDA Kemahan 3 cases in Kelantan where FELDA’s counsel failed to show up; six cases were pending, with total claims of RM 90 million (MySinchew, 2011). Since early 2011, at least five big new cases have been filed, including several by Sivarasa of PKR. The claims in the following eight cases are in excess of RM 1.2 billion....."
My review of Felda political-economy in GE13 will be appearing in Kajian Malaysia, Vol. 32, Supp. 2, 2014, 111–144  and a shortened version in a book chapter in a forthcoming book by the Institute of Southeast Asian Studies.

29 July 2014 evening:

DAP joins PKR in censuring PAS over controversial WhatsApp message, Published: 29 July 2014; DAP today said it was aggrieved over the controversial WhatsApp message which showed a PAS central committee member discussing the possibility of leaving Pakatan Rakyat, joining PKR in calling for the Islamist party to make a firm stand over the issue;

WhatsApp texts show PAS can’t be trusted, say social media users; 29 Jul — Social media users have once again responded to PAS over the leaked WhatsApp messages in which a central committee member had discussed the possibility of leaving Pakatan Rakyat, with many saying that this was proof that the Islamist party could not be trusted...

"The party's research centre operations director Dr Mohd Zuhdi Marzuki said, in a screenshot of the WhatsApp conversation that went viral, that it could still retain Selangor if it left PR by joining forces with Umno. The collaboration would create a simple majority and make it possible for Tan Sri Khalid Ibrahim to remain as menteri besar. The second part of Zuhdi’s message, bearing a racist slant, said that should the DAP, the church and non-Muslims bring up issues concerning the usage of the word “Allah” and the seizure of the Bibles by the Selangor religious department, PAS-Umno would be able to frisk off their complaints....."

Immediately below is Dr Ramli Hatta, MP for Kuala Krai, and a highly respected intellectual in PAS known for his inclusive approach, saying: "Working together with UMNO? I'm out!"

This is all about Hadi v moderates in PAS COMMENTARY BY THE MALAYSIAN INSIDER; Published: 29 July 2014; "Thank you, Mohd Zuhdi Marzuki. Thank you, for your honesty and bringing into the open what many supporters of Pakatan Rakyat have suspected for a while now and which The Malaysian Insider has touched on in the last few days: that the removal of Tan Sri Abdul Khalid Ibrahim as the Selangor menteri besar has become a sideshow.... The real issue is the percolating fight in PAS between those aligned to party president, Datuk Seri Abdul Hadi Awang, who are more comfortable sharing power with Umno than with PKR and DAP.... It is a fight within PAS on whether the Islamist party should continue to preach the Pakatan Rakyat mantra of inclusiveness and justice for all Malaysians or return to its narrow path of Malay and Muslim supremacy.... This battle in PAS will reach a crescendo on August 10 when the party leaders meet. But in the meantime, both factions – the moderate, professional class and the hardliners – are engaged in a sizzling behind-the-scenes war of words....."

29 July 2014 noon:

Happy gatherings of friends I attended in KL-Selangor yesterday were abuzz with the apparent shift in opposition politics that points toward a possible break up. This was triggered by the Parti Keadilan Rakyat (PKR) move to oust its Selangor Menteri Besar (Chief Minister) Khalid Ibrahim. In business circles, eye brows have been raised over various Selangor MB major corporate deals; particularly on a sweetheart 20-year repayment term for a regular piece of land that a public-listed property developer buyer managed to flip a portion for a rapid hefty gain, not long after the apparently special purchase arrangement.

Surprisingly, Khalid Ibrahim is digging in his heels to stay on despite his party's unanimous vote to replace him and a Pakatan Rakyan opposition coalition agreement for the same.  However, PAS dissension, in support for Khalid Ibrahim started with PAS leader Hadi Awang. Crucially, Nik Aziz and others started to say "no" to his ousting. Thus, many in KL are asking if this is the collapse of the Pakatan Rakyat opposition coalition. Some business observers argue that this may be inevitable given the policy distance between the political parties - notably, the Christian supporters of DAP (in recent months upset over various issues) and the grand wish for a "hudud" policy especially by the PAS religious wing. A senior political analyst notes that this places the PAS moderate wing in a difficult position - should they sacrifice their position? An ex military intelligence source said that one cannot count on PAS to be "logical."

A problem that PKR and others in the opposition faced in seeking Khalid's ouster was the lack of knowledge among the general public on various alleged controversial deals. There has been no case presented in the public sphere to gain Selangor public support on this move. Indeed, a senior political science academic noted to me that the public has viewed Khalid positively and that some of the electoral wins have been attributed to his acceptable image. However, Malaysia netizens are starting to wonder why he's clinging on despite the aforementioned party and coalition votes.

Thus, this may come down to what parameters Malay voters use in their calculus of this political situation, that is pitting Malay opposition leaders against each other. Finally, if not resolved by someone "caving in" (Khalid and/or Hadi/PAS or Anwar?) it might even come down to heightened ethnic-biased choices of Selangor voters. Two political sources (one opposition-linked and another BN-linked) agree that a smaller opposition can likely still hold on to Selangor if it came to new state-wide elections (on current state legislator numbers, it's a stalemate). However, this situation does not bode well for the opposition's ability to bring a real two-party system to the Malaysian political scene anytime soon in the coming years. Indeed, it already looked rather difficult from reviews of the Malaysia rural voting situation*.

Note: 10 sources, 27-28 July 2014.

*which shows heavily biased rural malapportionment of electoral boundaries, strong UMNO/BN rural political machinery cum administration and weak PAS access to female rural voters and lack of real political presence of PKR and relative irrelevance of DAP in rural (mostly Malay) areas. Refer to: Malaysia: Political economy of FELDA and South Johor & GE-13 voting behaviour; /khoryuleng/2014/04/malaysia-political-economy-of-felda-and.html. My review of Felda political-economy in GE13 will be appearing in Kajian Malaysia, Vol. 32, Supp. 2, 2014, 111–144  and a shortened version in a book chapter in a forthcoming book by the Institute of Southeast Asian Studies.

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News headlines:

PAS man tells 'dictator' Anwar to retire; 10:25AM Jul 29, 2014; Just a day before his controversial messages in instant messaging application WhatsApp were leaked online, PAS' Research Centre operations director Mohd Zuhdi Marzuki had launched a tirade against Opposition Leader Anwar Ibrahim on social media....;

Better for Islamists to join 'corrupt' Umno, 9:28AM Jul 29, 2014;  "YOURSAY ‘And let’s see if PAS can get its hudud law accepted by Umno.’ Ferdtan: What do the two PAS leaders mean when they say Selangor MB Abdul Khalid Ibrahim has not conducted any serious breach of trust for him to be replaced? How naïve can one get?..By not agreeing to step down as MB after the central committee, the highest body in a party, had made the decision is insubordination. Isn’t that not serious enough?

Remove Khalid move sputters on Nik Aziz's 'No'; 8:43AM Jul 28, 2014; "COMMENT Can we take it that because the word of the Mursyidul Am (spiritual leader) of PAS nearly enjoys the sanctity of holy writ, Nik Aziz Nik Mat's demurral over the PKR attempt to remove Selangor Menteri Besar Khalid Ibrahim means the move is dead in the water?  Without PAS's support the PKR attempt, though backed by its Pakatan Rakyat partner DAP, is hobbled and, if persisted in, risks the break-up of the six-year-old opposition coalition, as Lim Guan Eng has warned...."