The problem of Hasan Ali

By Deborah Loh, The Nut Graph

Will the PAS leadership take action against the party's Selangor commissioner Datuk Dr Hasan Ali for undermining Pakatan Rakyat (PR)?

Senior party leaders are unhappy with Hasan and Selangor PAS secretary Mohd Khairuddin Othman who backed his boss, Hasan, by saying that the party was ready to pull out of PR in Selangor if all its elected representatives agreed.

"The secretary had no right to say that. PAS has rules about such decisions and we are committed to staying in Pakatan. Even as the state commissioner, Hasan has no right to decide to pull out on his own," party vice-president Salahuddin Ayub told The Nut Graph today.

Dr Dzulkefly Ahmad

PAS central committee member Dr Dzulkefly Ahmad said such statements should not be allowed at a time when PR was in the midst of becoming a formal coalition.

He also hinted that the next central working committee meeting could possibly decide on action against Hasan, who is an executive councillor in the Selangor government.

"He should not be allowed to repeatedly make comments that undermine Pakatan. He should also remember that he is state commissioner by appointment. He was not elected," Dzulkefly told The Nut Graph in a phone interview today.

The latest of Hasan's controversial statements was on the state government's Select Committee on Competency, Accountability and Transparency (Selcat). Selcat has been questioning district officers about the spending of allocations by Barisan Nasional (BN) assemblypersons in two months just before the March 2008 general election.

While Hasan said he supported Selcat's intentions, he publicly criticised the manner in which the questioning was conducted, suggesting that the district officers had been treated like schoolchildren. He also suggested that Selcat members should comprise non-politically aligned persons like retired judges.

Following criticism of Hasan by other PAS leaders and Pakatan Rakyat colleagues, Mohd Khairuddin issued a statement that Selangor PAS was ready to leave PR.

Mohd Khairuddin's statement trigged the possibility of a hung assembly similar to Perak when three assemblypersons left PR to become BN-friendly independents.

PAS has eight state seats in Selangor, while Parti Keadilan Rakyat has 15 and DAP 13. BN has 20 seats and needs exactly eight more to have the 56-seat assembly hang.

Several attempts by The Nut Graph to contact Hasan proved futile.