Selangor MB test for Anwar, the magician

Anwar Ibrahim

Zakiah Koya,

IS THE idea of Opposition Leader Datuk Seri Anwar Ibrahim aspiring to be the Menteri Besar (MB) of Selangor a sign that the opposition is giving up the bigger goal of taking over the federal government?

Or is it an attempt to ensure that Selangor, which is the richest and most developed state in the country, remains with PKR?

Or is it an attempt to stabilise the party in the wake of tussles between the likes of present MB Tan Sri Khalid Ibrahim and Anwar loyalist Azmin Ali, which is threatening Anwar’s image?

Or is Anwar just power crazy and wants to be Opposition Head, PKR head, MB, MP and State Representative (Adun) all at one go?

Or after all this hype, would the only man slated to take over from Anwar, Rafizi Ramli – the scandal buster – be the MB? (Rafizi is an Anwar loyalist, and more of a party loyalist than Azmin, except he is more popular with the PAS and DAP top guns. Unlike Azmin, he is said to be not tainted with controversies.)

Then again, putting Rafizi to contest in Kajang might not work and that is a risk Anwar must carefully weigh. For Azmin would still hanker for the post.

These are among the questions being asked after the news broke yesterday that Anwar will definitely be vying for the MB’s post after standing for the Kajang state constituency, which has just been left vacant by Lee Chin Cheh yesterday afternoon.

While many pro-Azmin and pro-Khalid members of the party and the opposition coalition may not be too happy with Anwar’s idea, many more are of the idea that Anwar has not much choice.

For he is the only one that Khalid and Azmin dare not cross.

PR insiders – from PAS, PKR and DAP – said that Khalid had repeatedly blundered and had been admonished by Anwar and many other top leaders. Nevertheless, Khalid has remained stubborn and insisted that he was doing the right thing.

Some accuse him of being completely propped up by his political secretary Faekah Hussin, who has been said to “queen control” Khalid in fending off Azmin.

Khalid first came into the frying pan just before the 13th general election, when he proudly claimed that he has so much in the Selangor coffers. That was not well received by the people of Selangor, who found their roads potholed and rubbish not collected because of the non-appointment of contractors. That was due to poor management by Khalid of the city councils, namely MBPJ.

Then there was the Syabas issue, which has left many taps dry many a times since Khalid went head butting with Syabas in an attempt to take over the company.

Then there is the issue of the salaries of the Selangor state representatives being raised so much in the midst of price hikes, which forced Anwar to order the setting up of a fund so that the state reps can channel a percentage of their salaries back to the people.

There was also the issue of Khalid being alleged to have dropped Azmin from the Selangor State Development Corporation (PKNS). To this again, there was an uproar by Azmin’s supporters, so that Khalid was forced to make public officials papers of the state to prove he had no hand in the ousting of Azmin.

Anwar – being the shrewd politician he is – knows very well, that if PKR ever lost Selangor now to their counterparts PAS and DAP (who already have Kelantan and Penang), PKR will never be able to regain Selangor.

And at the same time, Anwar knows that he cannot ride the opposition boat alone without PAS and DAP. PKR is still the newbie when it comes to grassroots and rural support.

The situation is made worse by the fact that there is no one in the party who can be a better MB than Khalid at the moment.

PAS and DAP top leaders rather have Khalid than Azmin if given the choice, despite the fact that Azmin has been elected as Gombak MP with many PAS votes.