Who are the winners and losers of the Kajang by-election?

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The Ant Daily

PKR’s strategist Rafizi Ramli and his party’s leaders have to make up their mind on the purpose of the Kajang by-election, which is popularly known as the “Kajang Move”. So far, Rafizi has thrown out more reasons and justifications than the public, especially the Kajang voters, can digest.

It was originally suggested that Datuk Seri Anwar Ibrahim is going to be brought in to help consolidate the Selangor government because the current administration lacks the political acumen and experience to handle hot religious and racial issues.

Next, he said Anwar is needed to thwart Umno’s plans to unsettle the PKR-led government in the state by playing on racial and religious issues and step in to use the Emergency Ordinance (EO) to grab power.

The use of the EO argument is a new one. Earlier, he spoke about a “game changer” and about the need for Anwar to march to Putrajaya from Shah Alam. This justification was quickly replicated and shared by many pro-Pakatan Rakyat activists and leaders, including Kluang MP Liew Chin Tong and his DAP comrades.

Penang Institute’s Dr Wong Chin Huat even hailed Anwar’s “political maturity” and argued that Liew originally proposed the strategy in 2005 – for Anwar to lead the Selangor state government.

In an email response to me, Rafizi said, “We cannot repeat another Kedah at the time when Umno is slated to make a big push”, hinting at some issues with the state leadership.

Selangor MB Tan Sri Khalid Ibrahim has been criticised lately for making unilateral decisions, for being overly frugal on state spending and for being generally aloof. The straw that broke the camel’s back was the removal of Azmin Ali, his party foe, from the PKNS board.

Let’s look at the winners and losers of the “Kajang Move”:


Datuk Seri Anwar Ibrahim:

Anwar is a direct beneficiary of the by-election. He was trying to be evasive when he was asked about his motive to stand in the by-election. By now it is clear that the only logic for PKR to take such a huge political risk to orchestrate a by-election and to nominate Anwar as a candidate is to replace Khalid as the Selangor MB.

Azmin Ali:

Azmin may not be a direct beneficiary but it is clear who is having the last laugh between Khalid and him. The former will reluctantly step down as the Selangor MB to accommodate Anwar if the latter wins the by-election. But Azmin is expected to keep his board position in PKNS and possibly play a bigger role in the next administration.


Umno can turn this episode into PKR’s self-inflicted damage by simply doing nothing. It is enough to prove Rafizi’s doomsday prophecy wrong and to put an end to PKR/Pakatan’s tendency to use the party as a bogeyman to justify their controversial decisions and actions.

Voters of Kajang:

In Malaysia, a by-election is a time of giving and sharing. Voters can expect a lot of goodies, refurbishment and maintenance of local amenities and infrastructure by the state government, donations from the federal government and containers of sugarcoated promises. There’s another upside; they might get a Selangor MB as their new representative.


Malaysia’s electoral system:

The by-election has shown that political parties, to satisfy their own agenda, can legally abuse the electoral system. The system, in the “Kajang Move” case, is clearly being abused to resolve an internal party problem and to fulfil a lofty political ambition. The original intention of an electoral system is to allow voters to elect representatives to represent their voice and interests.

Permatang Pauh voters:

Those who had stood by Anwar during his years of political persecution might be seeing less of him after the by-election. It is not only geographically challenging for Anwar to turn up occasionally at the constituency but his time is going to be used up entirely trying to save Selangor from being annexed by Umno. At least Permatang Pauh folks should be grateful that Anwar, the saviour of Selangor from the scheming and notorious Umno invaders, is still representing them in Parliament.

Tan Sri Khalid Ibrahim:

He was the face of Pakatan in the 13th general election. Ironically, while he was being praised sky high by Rafizi and his party leadership, they are calling a by-election explicitly to replace him as the Selangor MB because he lacked political acumen. Despite what PKR wants us to believe, Khalid is a casualty of his party’s internal power struggle.

Rafizi Ramli:

Rafizi’s star was shining brightest during GE13 when he successfully wrested the Pandan seat from a feuding MCA. His involvement in the “Kajang Move” is obviously a big sacrifice to the anti-Azmin faction in PKR which wanted to stop the ascension of Anwar’s blue-eyed boy. Rafizi risks losing his credibility if his prophecy of Umno seizing power in Selangor via unconstitutional means does not materialise and renders the by-election a waste of resources and a travesty of the electoral process. In fact, the more justifications he makes the worse the damage would be on his credibility.

Khoo Kay Peng is a political analyst and a management consultant. He believes that this nation can only progress with the collective will of its people.