Selangor MB puts his foot down


Why is DAP so adamant on having an early election in Selangor? The reason is simple – if Selangor goes for early polls, then Penang will come along. It will fall in with DAP’s original plan to dissolve the Penang state assembly.

Joceline Tan, The Star

DATUK Seri Azmin Ali has issued his second big “No” to proposals for a snap election in Selangor.

It is quite clear by now that the Selangor Mentri Besar is not keen at all on DAP’s idea of an early state election ahead of the general election.

He has been under immense pressure from DAP to dissolve the state assembly especially in the wake of the proposed electoral redelineation that has seen politicians from both sides of the divide all hot under the collar.

Why is DAP so adamant on having an early election in Selangor?

The reason is simple – if Selangor goes for early polls, then Penang will come along. It will fall in with DAP’s original plan to dissolve the Penang state assembly.

The unprecedented twin state elections will be the most fascinating and exciting thing to happen in recent years.

But the trouble is that PKR is still resisting any move towards early polls.

Azmin put his foot down for the second time this week, insisting that it was unnecessary and said his government is obliged to respect the mandate won in 2013.

The PKR deputy president has the backing of the party’s political bureau which met on Tuesday night to discuss the matter.

PKR vice-president and Bukit Katil MP Shamsul Iskandar said the political bureau meeting chaired by president Datuk Seri Dr Wan Azizah Wan Ismail wanted the party to take an indepth look at the redelineation and put up a strong case against it to the Election Com­mission.

In a brief statement titled “Tony, the people of Selangor are not stupid”, Shamsul said PKR would not give in to pressure for a state election.

Azmin’s first “No” was in response to no less than DAP’s Lim Kit Siang who had made the call via his blog last week.

The second “No” came yesterday, hours after a press conference by Selangor DAP chairman Tony Pua who declared that his party had “unanimously” agreed during an emergency meeting, also held on Tuesday, to hold early elections in the state.

The two partners are deeply divided on this prickly issue.

Ties between DAP and PKR have not been smooth since the break-up of Pakatan Rakyat and the continued presence of PAS in the Selangor government has been like a thorn in DAP’s side.

Pua is dead serious about pushing the idea through and has indicated that his party will take the matter to the top leadership of Pakatan Harapan.

PKR leaders appear to have learnt from the Kajang Move experience and have been consistent against any snap state election including the one proposed for Penang.

They did not buy DAP’s arguments that the Penang polls was to revive democracy and address issues like abuse of power, corruption scandals and economic problems.

DAP’s argument for polls in Selangor is more straightforward – to win back the state before the proposed electoral redelineation comes into effect.

Supporters of Pua say this is typical of the PJ Utara MP’s propensity for thinking out of the box.

Pua claimed Selangor would be the worst affected by the redelineation and that it would be “stupid” to have an election after the redelineation is completed.

The trouble is that very few people really believe that Selangor will fall in the next general election. Even people in Umno do not believe that Barisan Nasional can retake the state.

The PKR leadership is simply unconvinced by either Kit Siang or Pua. They are also upset that Pua is forcing the issue on them in such a public manner.

The PKR leadership believes that the polls are meant to help Guan Eng secure a new mandate ahead of his court case rather than about saving the coalition.

Some of them even see the proposed polls as a diversion tactic to distract public attention from Guan Eng’s court case.

There is also a more dramatic reason why the Azmin circle is not keen on the polls – they are worried that DAP and Amanah may gang up to replace Azmin as MB.

The urgency on the part of DAP is further underscored by the fact that the Attorney-General has been granted leave by the courts to initiate contempt proceedings against the Penang Chief Minister for statements uttered in connection with the charges against him.

Azmin’s official reason is that he wants to respect the mandate given by the people. By that, he also means that the people elected a government comprising PKR, DAP and PAS.

He is aware that DAP is itching to axe PAS out of the state government. If the state assembly is dissolved, DAP will do what it takes to put Amanah in the seats belonging to PAS.

Azmin is not prepared to face that scenario. As far as he is concerned, PAS will remain as part of his administration until the general election.

The MB is said to be preparing an election budget for the state assembly sitting later this year.

He knows that Selangoreans are suffering from an overdose of politics and he believes that a “sweet budget” bringing benefit to the people of Selangor will be more useful than a snap election.