An impending implosion of Pakatan in Selangor?


Mohsin Abdullah,

WILL the BN (read Umno) pull the rug from under the Pakatan Rakyat government in Selangor? Like what happened to the PR Perak administration in 2009? Or in Sabah in 1994, when the PBS lost control following numerous defections of its assemblymen to the BN? Or the political crisis in Kelantan in 1977 which led to a state of emergency being declared and eventually saw the fall of the PAS-led government?

With the political temperature rising and religious as well as racial issues being played up to the hilt, will Selangor go the same way? With Kajang the “starter’s block”?

A firm “no”, said a Selangor political observer with good ties with the state PR government and Umno/BN. Not to mention the palace. He didn’t elaborate though. But somehow the response was expected considering that the Selangor PR government enjoys a strong majority in the state assembly.

But danger still lurks for Pakatan in Selangor.

Give the Kajang by-election a miss?

Apparently there are people in Umno who had wanted the BN to give the Kajang by-election a miss. “I belong to the boycott Kajang by-election school of thought,” said an Umno insider, going on to say “because mana boleh menang, (how can they win) bro?”

That would mean giving Datuk Seri Anwar Ibrahim an almost free passage (independent candidates notwithstanding) to the Selangor state.  “Biarkan (let it be). Let him  fight it out with the Sultan,” said the Umno insider.

The general “belief” then was that the MB must be Selangor-born and that would put Anwar out of contention as he was born in Penang. And it was also said that the palace “is not in favour of the opposition leader”.

However a source close to the palace dismissed both notions. Being born in Selangor, said the source, is not a pre-condition for the MB’s post, adding on “the MB must just be a Muslim Malay”.

And the source also said “the palace is neutral and Tuanku  (the Sultan) can work with anybody”, in reference to the MB.

Whether that was a consideration is not known but according to the Umno insider, Datuk Seri Najib Razak “has to fight as the Umno vice-presidents all want  BN to contest Kajang”.

Selangor Umno must do a reality check

With BN contesting Kajang supposedly a given – with the MCA throwing several names as possible candidates, interestingly, Umno information chief Datuk Ahmad Maslan somehow deemed it right to say openly  yesterday that the BN must quickly declare if it plans to contest to quash doubts as “currently there are calls to contest as well as to forfeit”.

Strange that may be, as big an issue as to contest or not to contest has not been resoved? If Ahmad Maslan’s remark is used as a yardstick.

To the Umno insider, Selangor Umno must do a “reality check if they are up to it or not. They’ve got the resources, they have a war room, social media department, training department, but lack strategy and precision”.

Nonetheless, to the party insider, the March 23 date fixed by the EC for the by-election is “indeed welcomed”.

Although he did not give specifics, it is obvious that the long duration before the election is being ‘utilised’. “Strategy, nothing wrong with that”, he said.

It doesn’t need a political scientist to see such “utilisation” is to “run down” Anwar and more importantly (or more dangerously for Pakatan) to let “discontent within PR over the ‘Kajang move’ to boil over”.

Hence the PR’s big enemy is complacency (that  Anwar will win easily). But the bigger threat is what comes after the Kajang by-election which Anwar is expected to win. The “war after the battle.” The “war ” within PR to be precise.  Something mouth-watering indeed for the BN.

The aim is to erode the trust of PAS for Anwar

The BN and its allies are painting Anwar as a “man who stands for liberalism like his friends in the DAP and that is a threat to Islam”. The aim is erode the trust of PAS for Anwar. To an extent, this has worked, as admitted by a PAS leader.

Then there’s the “reluctance” of Tan Sri Khalid Ibrahim to give way to Anwar as MB. Already pro-BN media are calling this the “Khalid rebellion“.

Said a PR leader: “The aroma is coming out. Naturally he will not give way. What more with PAS’ backing. We’ll have to wait.”

All that does not augur well for PR. The BN is seen as playing the right card, hoping for a PR implosion. A sort of a “win Kajang, lose Selangor” situation. Even the Putrajaya dream for that matter.