Selangor MB post an ‘option’, Anwar concedes


(MM) – Selangor may get a new mentri besar should PKR win the Kajang by-election as planned, Datuk Seri Anwar Ibrahim has now admitted.

The opposition leader told The Malay Mail Online that replacing Tan Sri Khalid Ibrahim was a possibility under consideration, but confirmed that there will be a shakeup at the top of the state administration in the event he secures the recently vacated state seat.

“We know my coming is to play a more effective role in the state. Yes, yes, the option is on the table,” Anwar said in an interview at the PKR headquarters here.

But he was quick to point out that nothing was finalised between PKR and its Pakatan Rakyat (PR) allies, DAP and PAS, adding that the pact’s immediate focus was on winning the by-election.

“We will come to that when we cross the bridge. There are procedures, consensus that needs to be built… it is a question which needs to be considered at an appropriate time,” Anwar explained.

He also indicated that Khalid will remain in the state government even if PR opts to remove him as Selangor MB, adding that making the Port Klang assemblyman deputy mentri besar or state economic advisor — Anwar’s current role — were possible options.

“Tan Sri Khalid would be extremely useful in an economic role… but of course this needs to be discussed, consensus must be reached,” ventured Anwar, who is also Permatang Pauh MP.

Anwar said he was also keen on conducting a forum and collecting feedback from past state senior civil servants and former MBs before making a final decision on the matter.

When asked whether PAS and DAP have indicated their agreement to the possibility of him becoming the next Selangor mentri besar, Anwar said that PR had not yet “come to that final stage”.

“But I think they (PAS and DAP) have been notified of various options best for the state,” he added.

Anwar’s latest remarks confirm rumours and reports of possible changes at the head of the Selangor government should he emerge victorious in Kajang.

But the stratagem dubbed the “Kajang Move” and masterminded by PKR strategy director Rafizi Ramli is not without obstacle.

Selangor PAS, for instance, has stated that it will nominate one of its own to become MB should Khalid be made to vacate the post.

PAS’s Shah Alam MP Khalid Samad said that without the endorsement from the Islamist party and DAP, the highest post Anwar can unilaterally decide to award himself is a spot on the Selangor executive council.

In a surprise move last week, PKR’s Lee Chin Cheh resigned as Kajang assemblyman, presumably to pave way for Anwar to contest the by-election.

The unforced resignation fuelled rumours that it was to allow Anwar to join the state assembly for the purpose of removing MB Khalid from his post.

But up until his concession now, the Selangor government and Anwar had continued to deny this as “only speculation”.

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

PR currently holds 44 of the 56-seat Selangor state assembly, with PAS and DAP having 15 seats each, while PKR has 13 after Lee’s resignation.