By Aidila Razak @ Malaysiakini
PKR Selangor chief and Menteri Besar Khalid Ibrahim may need to reconsider running for a top post at the November party polls, as the party continues to put his administration under scrutiny.
Already smarting from the tongue-lashing at the PKRcongress in Kota Bharu, Kelantan last month, Khalid (right ) is facing yet another round of criticism, as the party zeroes in on state policies at its Shah Alam retreat this weekend.
Information chief Latheefa Koya said that among the aims of the retreat is to find a way for the party to have more say in state affairs – an indication of latent unhappiness with the MB’s administration.
In fact, some believe that the ongoing attacks on Khalid show that mounting frustrations are behind an “orchestrated” move to discredit him and his administration.
And with only months to go until the November party elections, any attack on his reputation will have an immediate effect on his campaign.
Khalid is expected to go up against the likes of current Pakatan advisor Zaid Ibrahim and vice-president Azmin Ali (left ) for the deputy president’s post that will be vacated by Syed Husin Ali.
Evidence of an “orchestrated” movement against Khalid, said state exco member Xavier Jeyakumar, was seen during the Kota Bharu congress debates.
Xavier, when asked, revealed that some of the highly critical delegates confessed that prominent party members had given them “the text to read,” which they admitted they did without knowing what they were talking about.
Khalid a sitting duck
While Selangor PKR Youth chief Khairul Anuar Ahmad Zainuddin agrees that many are disgruntled with Khalid, he is less convinced that there is a ‘planned movement’ against the MB.
“I think the people who are unhappy with him know that time is running out (before the next general election) and there’s nothing they can do now but to advise him,” he said.
If Khalid is ousted, he said, be it as a result of losing in the party election or otherwise, “there will not be enough time for damage control”.
State exco member Elizabeth Wong (right) has however warned that the public assaults may be used as ammo by the BN in its unrelenting bid to take over Selangor, thus rendering Khalid a sitting duck
“There needs to be some decorum. People need to remember that we are still at war,” she said.
A favourite point of attack at the congress was the issue of Selangor government-linked companies (GLCs), which are mostly led by those appointed by the previous BN government.
“Selangor has many GLCs and sub-GLCs, and everyone’s waiting for a piece of them, for directorships… it’s a culture inherited from BN,” she said.
For Khairul however, the resolve of the Selangor chief – who was parachuted into politics from the corporate world – to “keep party and government completely separate” comes off as somewhat naïve.
“I was a student activist so I have a lot of idealistic views, but as it turns out politics is very dirty and one has to be pragmatic,” said the youth chief.
Getting the point of “internal sabotage” across to the Selangor boss, he said, is no walk in the park, referring to various complaints of Khalid’s “strong-mindedness”, which other allege borders on ‘recalcitrance’.
Reforming the Reformasi party
Unlike the MB’s harsher critics, however, the youth chief is more forgiving, saying that it is actually a sign of dogged determination for reform.
It is precisely his commitment to good governance which de facto party leader Anwar Ibrahim had highlighted in his support for Khalid, which however, appeared to have wavered during the congress.
Azmin was even less forgiving, pointing out in his speech in Kota Bharu that the party members are not exactly asking for multi-billion ringgit projects, but to allow PKR more input into GLCs.
“When (Khalid) is slandered, it is not the directors of these GLCs but it is PKR members, who head to the front-line to defend him,” he told delegates of the reformist party.
The dilemma for Khalid now is whether to keep on the straight and narrow, or to play the game the way the members of PKR would like him to play.
For now, he appears to be bowing to pressure, giving in to the delegates by promising to introduce another exco post as well as state constituency coordinator posts for party members.
Yesterday, Khalid also confirmed the appointment of cleric Badrul Amin Baharon as information chief of the state government.
Reformasi easier said than done
This is a bid to reach out to the Malay community, an area which PKR admits is a struggle.
In addition, according to Latheefa (left), the MB has also agreed to take pointers from the retreat and use the input for policy-making decisions.
But whether this will be able to appease his growing detractors is anyone’s guess.
After all, Khairul said, people in the party are realising that reformasi is easier said than done.
“People in PKR are starting to realise that it is not easy to govern. We talk about corruption, nepotism, cronyism, and here they are for us to deal with,” he said.