The decision to put forth Parti Keadilan Rakyat (PKR) president Datuk Seri Dr Wan Azizah Wan Ismail as the party’s preferred candidate to replace Selangor Menteri Besar Tan Sri Abdul Khalid Ibrahim has received mixed reviews following the earlier sudden announcement.

According to a source within party circles, the decision to put forth Dr Wan Azizah is a move by Pakatan Rakyat de-facto leader Datuk Seri Anwar Ibrahim to solidify his grip on the party.

“He seems to be promoting nepotism and cronyism by deciding to bulldoze his way through.

“By announcing Dr Wan Azizah as candidate, he seems to be completely side-lining PKR deputy president Azmin (Ali), since he is currently in Makkah performing the umrah,” the source said when contacted today.

The source, who declined to be named, said that senior party members who were against the decision were unable to have any say as questioning the party leader’s capability to be Menteri Besar would be detrimental to the party itself.

“On paper, Dr Wan Azizah does not deserve to be the Menteri Besar simply because she has no experience in government administration, having held no post other than that of party and MP’s positions.

“Compared with Azmin, who has been an assemblyman since 1999 as well being a special officer to Anwar prior to that, he certainly knows how a government should be administered,” the source, an Azmin supporter, added.

Meanwhile, a senior PAS member, who did not want to be identified said that the party remained divided over the issue.

“There are some members who do not mind Dr Wan Azizah being the Menteri Besar, but there are also some traditionalists who are objecting to the move, citing the former being a woman as the reason.”

It is learnt that PAS president Datuk Seri Abdul Hadi Awang had already suggested that Abdul Khalid be allowed to serve his term if the political impasse between both Dr Wan Azizah and Azmin remained.

A DAP MP said that the party had already agreed on the change of Menteri Besar as most of the senior leadership felt Abdul Khalid had been running the state as a “one-man show” instead of a coalition effort.

“It has come to the point where recent decisions made by Abdul Khalid on state government affairs are taken soley by him and this has caused some state executive councillors to be unhappy about it,” the politician said on condition of anonymity.

A boon for Pakatan Rakyat

However, political analyst Ibrahim Suffian from Merdeka Centre expressed that the move to replace Khalid might be a boon for Pakatan Rakyat.

This, he said, was provided Dr Wan Azizah was able to step up to the mark as soon as she received the green light to become the state’s administrator.

“While Khalid’s administration is marked as a clean one and that a good yardstick has been kept, it has not been an inspirational one given his single-handedness in decision making.

“She should be the inspirational leader that the people are looking for by negotiating the administrative and policy gridlock the state government had been suffering over a number of issues.”

Ibrahim said that in the end, the decision to select Dr Wan Azizah still lay within the Pakatan Rakyat leadership and the Sultan of Selangor, who had the prerogative to approve the candidate for the Menteri Besar’s post.

Political analyst Professor James Chin of the Monash University said that the move to name Dr Wan Azizah as the replacement for Abdul Khalid would be good for female leadership in PKR.

He said for too long the women in PKR had been held back and this announcement was a good development.

Chin suggested it would be easy for the people of Selangor to accept a woman Menteri Besar as the population was highly urban and well educated.

“Wan Azizah should be a given a chance to do her job. She has until 2018 to prove to the people that she is capable of leading Selangor.”

The political analyst said Dr Wan Azizah was seen to be more inclusive compared with Abdul Khalid, adding it would not be so simple to replace him as he did not want to vacate his post.

Dr Wan Azizah must also get the approval of the Selangor palace as she had to be sworn in as the Menteri Besar by the Sultan.

Chin said she must also command support from the state assembly.

He pointed out that indirect consultations carried out by PKR indicated that DAP and PAS were in agreement on the appointment of Dr Wan Azizah.

He said a number of leaders in PAS had supported the idea, but there were those who disagreed because of the “woman issue”.

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