By Adib Zalkapli
Datuk Seri Nizar Jamaluddin has warned that the Selangor government was in danger of losing popularity among the Malays and being accused of treason for disputing the appointment of a new state secretary.
The ousted Perak mentri besar said Umno leaders might accuse Selangor Mentri Besar Tan Sri Khalid Ibrahim of undermining the Sultan’s role by opposing the appointment Datuk Mohd Khusrin Munawi as the state’s top civil servant, which has received royal assent.
“Because [of] their control of the press, they will use this issue to accuse Khalid of committing treason against the Sultan like what happened to me in Perak. For the Malays this is very serious,” Nizar told The Malaysian Insider in a reference to Umno, which supported Khusrin’s appointment.
“That is why they keep saying the Sultan has consented to the appointment,” he added.
Nizar lost the post of mentri besar almost two years ago after the Perak ruler refused to dissolve the state assembly following the defection of three Perak Pakatan Rakyat (PR) lawmakers. He was then accused of being a traitor after he insisted on calling for a fresh election.
The PAS central committee member also said despite strengthening PR’s traditional support base in urban Selangor, Khusrin’s presence in the administration would hamper the state’s efforts.
“This will strengthen Pakatan’s traditional support, but when Khusrin assumes office the government will be distracted. It is difficult for Khalid,” said Nizar.
“Khusrin is seen as the best candidate to challenge [the] MB and launch acts of insubordination,” he added pointing out that Khusrin, as the Selangor Islamic affairs department head, had on several occasions spoke out against the state government.
The country’s richest state has been in turmoil since Khusrin was handed the post after receiving the consent of the Sultan of Selangor.
The state government has maintained that it has not finalised a candidate list, saying Khalid has not been informed officially of the appointment.
Khalid had also formed a committee headed by Selangor Assembly Speaker Datuk Teng Chang Khim, which shortlisted three names that were submitted to the palace.
Palace officials, however, have maintained the mentri besar was “late” in forwarding his candidate choices, with Sultan Sharafuddin Idris Shah’s aide Datuk Mohamad Munir Bani saying that Khalid had sent in three shortlisted candidates on December 7, after the Ruler had already agreed to the federal government’s pick.
A swearing in ceremony before Sultan Sharafuddin Idris Shah has also been scheduled for January 6 and is expected to be boycotted by PR lawmakers.
Nizar had claimed that the appointment of Mohd Khusrin was part of an attempt by the Barisan Nasional (BN) administration that controls Putrajaya to stage a coup in Selangor similar to what was done in Perak in February 2009.
Nizar has now advised the Selangor government to prepare for a prolonged crisis and to explain to the public the decision to reject Mohd Khusrin’s appointment.
“As the mentri besar, he has the power to stop Khusrin from entering his office. The best thing to do is to make Khusrin miserable,” said Nizar.
“There will be further turmoil, the crisis will continue, but at least the people can be made aware of the constitution,” he added.
Nizar said that the Khalid administration would win public sympathy if it handles the issue well.
“Previously nobody knew about the Perak Constitution, but now everybody remembers it,” said Nizar relating his experience after his removal from the state government.
He also predicted that the issue would not end in Khalid’s favour, as could be seen in Perak when he tried to get the State Secretary Datuk Dr Abdul Rahman Hashim replaced.
“I tried twice, I approached the Sultan, I met Tan Sri Sidek Hassan twice to get replacement but the KSN did not bother,” said Nizar.