Tuesday, August 12, 2014



Yesterday, Selangor Menteri Besar Khalid Ibrahim had an audience (mengadap) with His Royal Highness the Sultan of Selangor to explain what was happening in Selangor. HRH appeared quite satisfied with the briefing and consented to Khalid staying on as Menteri Besar until further developments.

Further developments here would, of course, mean unless and until a vote of no confidence against Khalid is passed in the Selangor state assembly or those opposed to Khalid can offer proof that he has lost the confidence of the majority of the House.

The fact that PAS has reiterated many times (today as well) that its 15 state representatives or ADUNs stand solidly behind Khalid, and the Deputy Prime Minister said the same regarding the 12 Umno ADUNs, this would give Khalid 28 votes against PKR’s and DAP’s combined 27 (the Speaker cannot vote unless it is a casting vote in the event of a draw).

Hence the decision by HRH would be considered constitutionally legal, as also many legal eagles have opined.

Yesterday, also, Anwar Ibrahim rushed up to Kuala Terengganu for an audience with PAS President Abdul Hadi Awang. According to press reports Hadi had avoided meeting Anwar the last month or so but since Anwar had taken the trouble to travel all the way to Terengganu it is only good manners for Hadi to meet him.

After that one hour meeting Anwar told the media people waiting outside the hotel in Kuala Ibai that it was a good meeting while Hadi rushed off without saying a word to them. This can be translated to mean that the meeting was not really a good meeting after all.

It seems Hadi was receptive to the proposal that Khalid be replaced but not to the proposal that Khalid be replaced with Dr Wan Azizah Wan Ismail. So it was a more or less yes and no response.

If Anwar agrees to drop Dr Wan Azizah then it has to be either Azmin Ali or Dr Idris Ahmad as the proposed replacement. If both these names is not acceptable to Anwar, or more importantly, to HRH the Sultan, then it would have to be someone from PAS, most likely Iskandar Abdul Samad who it is said HRH is quite comfortable with.

This has put Anwar in a dilemma. PAS can consider a change but it has to be a change agreeable to PAS. Hence PAS will meet Anwar halfway but Anwar also has to meet PAS halfway. Anwar cannot have it his way all the way.

Anwar’s only hope would be to break PAS’s solidarity and try to get at least two or three of the 15 PAS state representatives to break ranks. Doing so would mean Anwar would get his 29 votes of no confidence but the result would be PAS would suffer an internal crisis. Hence PAS would need to be hurt for Anwar to get his majority.

In the short term this will achieve Anwar’s plan of removing Khalid in favour of Dr Wan Azizah. In the long term PAS would be severely weakened and a weakened PAS is no asset to Pakatan Rakyat.

There are already many in PAS who are of the view that its marriage with Pakatan Rakyat is no longer viable. All it needs is an internal skirmish in PAS, triggered by Anwar, to convince these dissidents that PAS is better off alone even if the result means it is no longer a national party but merely a regional party in the Malay heartland. These people feel it is better that PAS is king in a few Malay states than play second fiddle and be bullied in the coalition.

The Malays call this menang sorak kampung tergadai or, as the English say, win the battle but lose the war.

Anwar, therefore, has to seriously consider his next move because once PAS meets this Sunday, 17th August 2014, there would be no turning back. Anwar might win his consolation prize but might lose the first prize. And facing the next general election without PAS, or a weakened PAS, as a coalition partner would mean that Pakatan Rakyat might lose the gains it made in the 2013 general election.

No comments: