KUALA LUMPUR, June 20 — Selangor PAS today repudiated a news portal’s report that it wanted Tan Sri Khalid Ibrahim removed as mentri besar, saying the article was “erroneous” and did not reflect the stand of Islamist party’s state chapter.
This morning, news portal The Malaysian Insider quoted state PAS leaders such as Jaafar Sulaiman as saying that Khalid’s tendency to make unilateral decisions without consulting Pakatan Rakyat (PR) parties have resulted in a unanimous call for his removal.
“It’s not true, what the report quoted me as saying. That has never been my official stand on the matter; I have never called for his (Khalid’s) removal,” Jaafar told The Malay Mail Online when contacted.
The Selangor PAS election chief conceded that he was contacted by a reporter from the news organisation a few days ago, but asserted that what transpired was a private conversation with the reporter.
Earlier, Selangor PAS secretary Mohd Khairuddin Othman confirmed that the Islamist party’s state leadership has instructed Jaafar to take legal action against the news portal for its “erroneous” article.
“This is not reflective of Selangor PAS, and our stand with regards to the leadership of the state. The Selangor PAS commissioner has demanded he (Jaafar) take responsibility for this, to send a (letter of demand) to The Malaysian Insider,” he told The Malay Mail Online when contacted.
Sources from MB Khalid’s office said today that the PAS central leadership has also demanded an explanation from its state chapter over this episode.
When asked whether he would sue the news portal, Jaafar said, “Let me talk to The Malaysian Insider first.”
Khalid’s position as MB has remained contentious since his own party, PKR, initiated the so-called “Kajang Move” to oust him from the position.
The move was ostensibly engineered to remove the Port Klang assemblyman as MB and to replace him with PKR de facto leader Datuk Seri Anwar Ibrahim, who had intended to contest the Kajang state seat which was vacated in February.
But the “Kajang move” fell through after Malaysia’s second highest court overturned his sodomy acquittal and sentenced him to five years in jail earlier this year. Anwar has filed for an appeal against this decision.
Although Anwar’s disqualification had then appeared to put to rest plans to remove Khalid, recent controversies involving the Selangor administration have prompted new agitations for his removal.
Among others, these include the still-unresolved row over the seizure of bibles in the state and Khalid’s perceived partiality towards the developers of the proposed Kinrara-Damansara Expressway (Kidex) that is facing mounting resistance from state residents.
But major barrier to Khalid’s removal was the absence of a clear candidate to replace him.
“That is the million-dollar question. There is a consensus in calling for his (Khalid’s) removal. But who will replace him? Pakatan needs to discuss this and make a decision,” PAS Shah Alam MP Khalid Samad told The Malay Mail Online.
PKR previously touted party president Datuk Seri Dr Wan Azizah Wan Ismail as a possible choice should there be a need to replace Khalid.