What’s happening in Perlis?

A never-ending string of corrupt MBs

Murray Hunter

Up unit GE15, Perlis had always been an UMNO stronghold. Even after GE14 in 2018, when Pakatan Harapan came to power, UMNO managed to win 10 out of the 15 seats in the state assembly. However, last November, UMNO lost all of their seats, with the incumbent Menteri Besar Azlan Man losing his Bintong seat in a massive wipeout, winning only 18 percent of the vote.

Many believe this result occurred because of the wroth of former UMNO warlord Shahidan Kassim against Ahmad Zahid Hamidi, president of UMNO, who wisely or stupidly sacked Shahidan Kassim before the general election. Shahidan convincingly held on to his federal seat of Arau by the biggest margin ever. The UMNO candidate Rozabil Abdul Rahman, who was selected after Zahid dropped Shahidan could only muster 17.62 percent of the vote.

The Perlis Menteri Besar Mohd Shukri Ramli’s new RM 300,000+++ new car brought for him by MBI, so it is outside public accountability. There has been no precedent for this in Perlis.

The real reason Azlan Man and UMNO were wiped out of the Perlis state election was because of all the businesspeople and contractors who were treated so poorly by Azlan Man. These disaffected people supported a strong campaign against Azlan Man and his government.

Azlan Man was put into Perlis by former prime minister Najib Razak, who wanted someone professional and competent to run the state. Azlan Man who was a former diplomat and well educated seemed to fit the bill. The last couple of Menteri Besars came up poorly on the corruption index. Azlan Man was going to turn this around. This ‘golden parachute’ for Azlan Man went against the UMNO grassroots in the state at the time.

Unfortunately, Azlan was the complete opposite to expectations and built his own empire. He looked after his own, and even appeared to be an ultra-racist, something not well accepted in the traditional harmony of Perlis.

Azlan now faces 10 counts of corruption and money laundering in the Kuala Lumpur High Court, and was probably lucky that he didn’t face even more charges. The case is going on at present.

Mohd Shukri Ramli, a PAS member of the state assembly since 2013 became the Menteri Besar in November last year. Then in May 2024, Mohd Shukri’s son was charged with corruption for falsifying claims. Murmurings around town say there may be more to come.

What makes things much more complex in this matter of corruption is that Mohd Shukri’s son is married to PAS president Abdul Hadi Awang’s daughter. This doesn’t sit too well for the party.

There is great dissatisfaction over the behaviour of Mohd Shukri in Perlis. It’s alleged by some who attended a meeting with him, that Mohd Shukri insulted the Raja, to the point it personally hurt the feelings of the Raja. The Raja can’t sack a Menteri Besar. Under the constitution the Raja can only appoint one. Only, the members of the state assembly can put a motion of no confidence in the Menteri besar.

There is talk in Perlis about the PAS members in the state assembly planning to move a vote of no confidence in the Menteri Besar Mohd Shukri. This would remove him from office and could well mean a new state election in Perlis very soon.