KUALA LUMPUR, Sept 20 — Three Selangor Pakatan Rakyat (PR) lawmakers, including two from PAS’s list of candidates to the Sultan, were interviewed by the palace separately this week on their potential to take on the post of mentri besar.
According to a report by The Star today, the three are PAS state executive councillors Iskandar Samad and Dr Ahmad Yunus Hairi, and PKR deputy president Azmin Ali.
Citing sources, the English daily reported that the interviews, which took place at Istana Kayangan over the week, were believed to be part of the palace’s process of electing a replacement for outgoing incumbent Selangor Mentri Besar Tan Sri Khalid Ibrahim.
The daily also reported sources saying that each meeting with the state ruler lasted more than one hour and that the three men were subsequently told to be on standby pending the palace’s decision on the matter, which is expected to be on Monday.
Others who attended the palace meetings included Selangor state secretary Datuk Mohamed Khusrin Munawi, state legal adviser Datuk Nik Suhaimi Nik Sulaiman and two members of the Selangor Royal Council, The Star wrote.
Iskandar, who is Selangor PAS commissioner and Cempaka assemblyman, and Dr Ahmad Yunus, PAS’s Sijangkang assemblyman, were two of the three individuals named by PAS president Datuk Seri Abdul Hadi Awang in the party’s list of potential mentri besar candidates to the Sultan.
The Star also reported today that Azmin, who is Selangor PKR chief and Bukit Antarabangsa assemblyman, had informed his party de facto leader Datuk Seri Anwar Ibrahim of the meeting with the palace.
Citing sources, the daily reported that Azmin did so to prevent any misunderstanding on the matter and Anwar, in his response, purportedly agreed that it was “time to move on”.
Two days ago, the Selangor palace confirmed that a new mentri besar will take the oath of office next Tuesday, but refused to divulge the identity of the individual.
“Yes, it is true. Tuesday morning, the new mentri besar will be sworn in,” the Selangor Sultan’s private secretary, Datuk Munir Bani, told Malay Mail Online when contacted.
The news sent PR leaders into a tizzy and rumours on who the candidate would be began spreading like wildfire.
Tuesday could mark the final chapter in the protracted mentri besar saga that threw Selangor into a leadership crisis and caused fissures that are now threatening to rend the PR pact apart.
The intrigue has pit PR allies DAP, PKR and PAS against each other over their disagreements — first over the removal of Khalid as well as over who his replacement should be.
The senior PAS leadership has consistently stood apart from its PR allies in PKR’s intricate bid to replace Khalid with PKR president Datuk Seri Dr Wan Azizah Wan Ismail, leading to growing questions over its commitment to the pact and open calls for its exit.
The situation grew more intractable after PAS president Datuk Seri Abdul Hadi Awang unilaterally named three nominees for the post in accordance with the Sultan of Selangor’s request; PKR and DAP were adamant in naming only Dr Wan Azizah.
Late last night, in what is seen as PKR’s last ditch bid to install Dr Wan Azizah to the post, the party pleaded with the palace for an audience to convince the Sultan of their president’s support among state lawmakers.
The party pointed to the declared support that the PKR president previously secured from 30 state lawmakers in the Selangor assembly, which it insisted was clear proof that she commanded the majority support among the elected representatives.
“Keadilan is of the position that the support previously stated by members of the Selangor state assembly for Datuk Seri Dr Wan Azizah Wan Ismail is unchanged.
“As such, Keadilan humbly requests His Royal Highness’s consent for an audience in order to seek his advice and courtesy in a scenario where the majority support is clear and unaltered,” PKR secretary-general Datuk Saifuddin Nasution said in a statement.