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Sultan's decision must be respected: PAS

Translated by DOMINIC LOH
Sin Chew Daily

PAS leadership is happy with the appointment of Azmin Ali as the new Selangor menteri besar. The party said all quarter should respect the decision made by the Sultan and hoped Pakatan Rakyat and members of the public would not question Azmin's appointment.

No intention of wrestling MB post

PAS secretary-general Datuk Mustafa Ali said the party had reiterated over and again that the party had no intention of wrestling the MB post from PKR, adding that the appointment of Azmin Ali proved the party's consistency in this.

He said a common understanding had been achieved by leaders of Pakatan Rakyat that the MB post would go to PKR despite the fact that PAS has more seats than either PKR or DAP. He said even after the MB crisis in Selangor, the party still would not have any intention of taking over the MB post.

PAS submitted the name of Azmin Ali along with two PAS exco members for the Sultan's consideration for the MB post.

Sultan's discretion

PAS information chief Mahfuz Omar told Sin Chew Daily the party was happy with Azmin Ali's appointment as the state MB, and would respect the Sultan's right and decision to appoint the MB. He also urged the public to respect the Sultan's decision and not to question it so that the crisis could be put to a rest soon.

"We want to congratulate Azmin Ali for his appointment as the new Selangor MB, and this proves that the party's stand of not fighting for the MB post is consistent and unchanging."

He said PAS hoped that Azmin would enhance the state's economy after he assumes his office while trying to mend the relationship among component parties of Pakatan Rakyat.

He said rumors of PAS proposing three exco members to the sultan for the MB post were lies as the party's stand of not fighting for the Selangor MB post remains unchanged.

Westminster system in peril

While contravening the Westminster system embraced by the country, Azmin Ali's appointment as Selangor MB could also become the catalyst to spark the disintegration of Pakatan Rakyat.

Current affairs critic Wong Chin Huat feels that the issue is not just about Azmin Ali or Pakatan Rakyat but the entire country's political system.

He said the mainstay of democracy is to form a responsible government answering to all the elected representatives, the political represented as well as all the people of this country. The MB crisis in Selangor shows that "The menteri besar will answer to whoever having control over his appointment." This also shows that Selangor not longer boasts a cabinet democratic system. He questions whether the state still embraces constitutional monarchy under such a situation.

The choice of Selangor MB is now determined by a third party individual instead of majority of elected reps, and this shows that the voters have lost the role to control the government.

While the three parties making up the opposition pact could be locked in disagreement over certain issues, they would nevertheless defend their common interests. But following the developments of the MB crisis in Selangor thus far, the three parties must now contemplate ways to fend off external intervening forces.

Dr Oh Ei Sun, senior fellow at Singapore's Nanyang Technological University, said Azmin's appointment as the new Selangor MB is not a bad thing altogether for Pakatan Rakyat, but his appointment also marks the start of the Westminster system embraced by the Malaysian government.

"Since the precedent has been set, we will only see what will happen to the country's constitutional monarchy system. I have no idea which way will it be headed to."

Dr Oh told Sin Chew Daily the idealists and socialists within PKR would suffer a tremendous setback following the appointment of Azmin Ali but this is only how these people will feel, as Azmin used to be Anwar Ibrahim's political secretary when he was the deputy prime minister.

"Azmin has very profound political experiences and tactics, making him obviously different from Khalid Ibrahim. He is not so dogmatic as Khalid, and could make use of this style of doing things to patch up the relationship between the rival factions within the party, which is not a bad thing for Pakatan after all."

Dr Oh said Azmin is generally seen as a PKR leader maintaining friendly relationship with Umno leaders, which is quite similar to the style of the more liberal leaders within PAS.

Azmin not a team player

In the meantime, a PKR leader who prefers to remain anonymous has said while Azmin boasts strong leadership and organization skills, he is seen as lacking in team spirit and as such party leaders are worried he would go out of control and become a second Khalid Ibrahim.

"Anwar is worried Azmin would go his way after he has been appointed the new MB. Azmin's past experiences have shown that he only takes care of his own people. It is worried that nepotism will have a place in the state administration, which is something Pakatan doesn't want to see."

Basically PKR could be divided into three different camps, namely the pro-Azmin, anti-Azmin and pro-Khalid factions. Pro-Azmin camp is made up of the grassroots in Selangor and majority of state assemblymen; anti-Azmin faction is camp is mainly made up of leaders from across the country, while the pro-Khalid camp is made up of some of the Selangor state assemblymen and grassroots. With Khalid now stepping down as MB, the pro-Khalid leaders are believed to have joined the anti-Azmin camp.

"Azmin was returned as the party's deputy president in a three-cornered fight mainly because of the dilution of votes by Saifuddin and Khalid whose combined votes were more than Azmin's.

"Azmin has been in the party for more than ten years and some party leaders unhappy with him are worried he would take revenge after he has been given the power."

Insiders say Azmin's relationship with Pakatan's allies DAP and PAS is generally good although DAP has something to grumble against him.

Palliative effect

The Asian Strategy & Leadership Institute (Asli) CEO Tan Sri Datuk Dr. Michael Yeoh said Azmin has been recommended by PAS for the post of MB and therefore it is generally believed that his appointment will help palliate the taut relationship between PKR and PAS over the Selangor MB crisis.

He said the crisis could be even more intense if PAS assemblyman were to made the new MB. And therefore the Sultan's decision to appoint Azmin Ali is seen as a decision trying to palliate the aftermath of the Selangor crisis.

No matter how unhappy some Pakatan leaders could be, once the Sultan has made the final decision, all parties must strive to respect the party's decision and status.



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