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Yong Yen Nie
Thursday, Aug 14, 2014

Malaysia

Khalid to stay with 'Sultan's consent'

The Straits Times | Yong Yen Nie | Thursday, Aug 14, 2014

Malaysian opposition leader Anwar Ibrahim Anwar Ibrahim (left), and Selangor Menteri Besar Khalid Ibrahim, both from Parti Keadilan Rakyat (PKR), at a press conference in Petaling Jaya.

SELANGOR Menteri Besar Abdul Khalid Ibrahim has said the state's ruler is allowing him to stay on in his post despite his sacking from Parti Keadilan Rakyat (PKR).

Tan Sri Khalid said he told Sultan Sharafuddin Idris Shah of his sacking by PKR's disciplinary board last Saturday during their two-hour meeting yesterday.

He also told the ruler that he still commanded the majority of support in the 56-seat state legislature in the government led by Pakatan Rakyat (PR).

Mr Khalid added that the ruler was satisfied with his explanation and so consented to his staying on.

"Until there are new developments, I remain as the Selangor Menteri Besar and will perform my duties as usual," he said in a statement yesterday.

Under the Selangor Constitution, the chief minister must seek consent from the palace before making major state decisions.

If Mr Khalid is unable to show he has the majority support in the state assembly, the Sultan may dissolve the House for fresh elections to be held.

Mr Khalid said he would ask the Selangor state Cabinet members comprising elected lawmakers from the PR coalition if they still want to work with him.

"I won't be leaving. If the exco members don't agree with me, they can leave," he said at a highly anticipated press conference in the state secretariat building yesterday.

The PR alliance comprises PKR, Democratic Action Party (DAP) and Parti Islam SeMalaysia (PAS).

Last year, the coalition formed the Selangor state government after winning a two-third majority, with PKR garnering 14 seats including Mr Khalid's, while DAP and PAS won 15 seats each.

Umno, a key party in the federal ruling coalition, has the remaining 12 seats.

All three PR members said on Sunday that their representatives in the state Cabinet will not quit their posts.

PKR and DAP have challenged Mr Khalid to prove he still has the majority support at the state assembly, which is in recess till November.

In a joint statement yesterday, both parties said Mr Khalid's statement to the palace was "doubtful" and he should call for an emergency state assembly sitting to have a vote of confidence.

"As both PKR and DAP have openly rejected Khalid, he can get a majority only if he has the support of the 12 Umno assemblymen," they said.

"If the 12 Umno assemblymen do not support Khalid, then he has furnished false information to the Sultan."

PAS is divided on the issue, with some leaders appearing keen to back Mr Khalid because they do not want Dr Wan Azizah Wan Ismail, the wife of opposition leader Anwar Ibrahim, to take up the post, as proposed by PKR.

Mr Anwar is reported to be meeting PAS leaders this week to lobby for support to remove Mr Khalid before PAS decides on its stance on Sunday.

Political commentator Syahredzan Johan said if PAS leaders agree to withdraw their support from Mr Khalid, then the PR could seek an audience with the ruler to convene a state assembly meeting to vote Mr Khalid out before November.

"As PAS' top leadership has decided to stick with the PR coalition, it should stand united with PKR and DAP in removing Mr Khalid... PAS has no other choice as this is part and parcel of coalition politics."

yyennie@sph.com.sg


This article was first published on August 12, 2014.
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