Azmin-Khalid tussle simmers
SHAH ALAM: Some four months after Pakatan Rakyat’s emphatic electoral win in Selangor, ties between the two key figures in Selangor PKR remain as frosty as ever.
Political observers said the “wounds” inflicted by Menteri Besar Tan Sri Khalid Ibrahim (right, pix) on Selangor PKR chief Azmin Ali (left) were still festering.
“Azmin is buying time and still harbours hopes of taking over from Khalid,” said one observer.
This is not surprising as PKR supremo Datuk Seri Anwar Ibrahim was said to have promised Azmin the Selangor MB’s job prior to GE13, based on the understanding that Azmin commanded over 80 per cent support in Selangor PKR.
Buoyed by this assurance, Azmin had even promised businessmen and party rank and file members benefits if he assumed the MB’s post, said the observers.
But it was a case of Khalid using his corporate networking skills to counter Azmin’s grassroots support.
Party sources said that during GE13, Khalid, a former PNB chairman, received huge campaign funds from businessmen, and part of these were channelled to PKR’s partners, DAP and PAS.
“This proved crucial as DAP and PAS threw their support behind Khalid when it emerged that there was an impasse in the selection of the PKR candidate for the MB’s post after GE13,” said a source.
Observers said Khalid not only enjoyed better rapport with top Pakatan leaders in Selangor but also better public support than Azmin.
Azmin was seen as carrying the Umno baggage as he had served as Anwar’s private secretary when the latter was in the government, the observers pointed out.
However, it won’t be plain sailing for Khalid, especially with his health problems and the resentment he has created over the appointment of state executive council members and Saifuddin Nasution Ismail as political liaison officer in the MB’s office.
"Saifuddin was roped in to strengthen Khalid’s hand to prevent internal sabotage,” said a source.
On May 28, about 80 PKR members and NGO leaders gathered outside Anwar’s house in Segambut to vent their frustration over the exclusion of Seri Andalas assemblyman Dr Xavier Jayakumar from the executive council.
Despite retaining his seat by a bigger majority in the May polls, PKR’s Xavier was dropped from the executive council, apparently to make way for an Indian executive council member from DAP.
The PKR discipline bureau has suspended Xavier's personal aide Abdul Razak Ismail over the controversy which has yet to be resolved.
Abdul Razak had complained to the media about the party's unjust treatment and decision regarding the matter.
In GE13, Pakatan won 44 out of the 56 state seats in Selangor, with PKR taking 14 seats, and DAP and PAS winning 15 each.