Is she the next S’gor MB?


(NST) – With just a day to go before the Kajang byelection, questions remain as to whether PKR president and candidate Datuk Seri Dr Wan Azizah Wan Ismail will replace Tan Sri Khalid Ibrahimas the new Selangor Menteri Besar if she wins the contest.

PKR’s engineering of the by-election, dubbed the “Kajang Move” by its leaders, was aimed at paving the way for PKR de facto leader Datuk Seri Anwar Ibrahim to assume the Selangor MB post.

This move was widely speculated to be a means to quell the growing tension between the PKR’s two warring factions led by party deputy president Azmin Ali and businessman-turned-politician Khalid.

This theory was recently denied by both Azmin and PKR strategic director Rafizi Ramli, who instead insisted that the move was meant to counter “religious and racial attacks” against Selangor.

However, in a turn of events, Anwar’s acquittal in a sodomy charge was reversed by the Court of Appeal on March 7, rendering him unable to continue with his hopes of contesting the Kajang by-election.

With Wan Azizah now substituting her husband in running for the state seat, there is talk that she might become the new Selangor MB and fulfil the goals set under the supposed “Kajang Move”, which generally aimed to consolidate PKR’s position in Selangor.

Political analyst Associate Prof Dr Sivamurugan Pandian, however, said factionalism within PKR would continue to fester even if Wan Azizah dethroned Khalid.

“Azmin must also play a part in a ceasefire. It also depends on whether Wan Azizah can remain party president after PKR’s elections next month. Khalid might agree (to being removed) but she must prove to everyone that she can lead on her own without being seen as Anwar’s proxy.”

He, however, expressed doubt that Wan Azizah’s appointment as Selangor MB would put an end to PKR’s leadership crisis.

“PKR is going to face a major leadership crisis and this may affect its political cooperation with DAP and Pas.

“If they are not careful, Pas might demand for the Selangor MB position if PKR’s house is not in order,” Sivamurugan said.

Meanwhile, veteran politician and MCA stalwart Datuk Yap Pian Hon said PKR needed to develop a proper formula to quell infighting.

He said even if Wan Azizah were to lead the Selangor government, it would not be enough to keep the warring factions at bay.

“Wan Azizah is merely replacing Anwar and continuing his struggle. If it weren’t for the court case, Anwar could be en route towards becoming the next Kajang state assemblyman. His wife was thrown into the fray out of necessity.

“Therefore, it is important to remove Khalid from mainstream politics for peace to prevail,” he said, quashing speculation that Khalid could likely stay on as state economic advisor and assist Wan Azizah in the event she was placed in charge of administering Selangor.

Yap said Wan Azizah would also need a strong team of advisors to see her through the next three years if she was bent on holding sway as menteri besar.