Kajang By-Election – Azmin: Lee’s resignation a ‘tactical move’


(MM) – Lee Chin Cheh’s resignation as Kajang state assemblyman was a tactical move to strengthen Pakatan Rakyat’s hold on Selangor, according to PKR deputy president, Azmin Ali.

“It was a tactical move, we needed the seat to be vacated,” Azmin told reporters here.

Azmin said a “national leader” of Anwar’s calibre was needed to improve PR’s position in the country’s richest state, even though the coalition currently holds 44 of the 56 seats in the state assembly.

“Tan Sri Khalid Ibrahim has laid a strong foundation for the past five years. But we should not be too complacent,” Azmin added.

Asked whether this meant Anwar would replace Khalid as Selangor Mentri Besar assuming the former deputy prime minister won the Kajang by-election, Azmin said that nothing had been decided yet.

“Do not speculate beyond Kajang. We will discuss matters after the by-election, if there is a need…,” Azmin said smiling without finishing his sentence.

He added that Anwar had “many contacts” who would help improve Selangor and that the Opposition leader would play a strong role as state assemblyman.

Azmin has said he personally had “no objection” to Anwar contesting the by-election.

Confirming widespread speculation today, Anwar announced that he will contest the upcoming Kajang by-election but stopped short of declaring that he planned to replace Tan Sri Khalid Ibrahim as Selangor Mentri Besar.

Anwar said he had no choice but to contest the seat as he had been chosen to do so by PKR.

The Malay Mail Online understands that high-level discussions are well under way among top Pakatan Rakyat (PR) leaders to replace Khalid.

While popular with the general public, Khalid’s penchant for unilateral decision-making in governing the country’s wealthiest state is understood to be a source of dissatisfaction among other state level PR leaders.

Among his decisions that have ruffled feathers are controversial pay hikes for Selangor state assemblymen and administrators, an unexpected decision to go with Putrajaya’s recommendations in the state’s water restructuring plans, and the convoluted removal of PKR deputy president and known rival Azmin Ali from the board of the Selangor State Development Corporation (PKNS).

Rumours over the position of state chief minister began swirling after Azmin was sacked from the PKNS board, allegedly on orders from the state government.

Khalid said the Selangor executive council had not ordered Azmin’s removal, and declassified official state documents to confirm the matter last week.

Azmin told The Malay Mail Online in a recent interview that he was more concerned about improving PR’s performance in its second term in the Selangor government, rather than pursuing “personal rivalries”.