Selangor Menteri Besar Azmin Ali is ‘playing a very delicate game’ as he balances his act to keep the Pakatan Rakyat (PR) allies – Chinese-based multi-racial DAP and Islamist PAS – together in running the state until the next general election.
Pressures on him are mounting as the DAP pushes him to cut ties with PAS as being done in Penang where the state government comprises only two parties – DAP and PKR – with PAS kicked out, allegedly for going against the policy framework of the opposition pact’s agreement.
Azmin, as deputy president of PKR, has several times been pushed to follow DAP’s move against the Islamist party but he managed to ward off the pressure thus far.
It is said that DAP had wanted Azmin to cut ties with PAS in Selangor and the state would still be under the pact given that PKR and DAP made up 28 seats and PAS rejects – PAS liberals assemblymen could contribute at least two more seats making it 30 of the total 56 state seats – a safe figure to rule.
Azmin however did not make any commitment during his meeting with DAP representatives on Tuesday as he viewed the matter as irrelevant at this time as relationship between PKR and PAS is as good as ever.
Being wise or being schrewd, Azmin viewed the opposition pact as still workable particularly in the state as the dispute is just between DAP and PAS while PKR has no quarrel with either of the party.
As a Menteri Besar, he plays the role of moderator that glue the three parties together under his leadership in the state and losing either one may cripple the running of the state.
Azmin’s relationship with PAS leaders particularly president Datuk Seri Abdul Hadi Awang has been very good, just like the relationship that PKR de facto chief Datuk Seri Anwar Ibrahim enjoys with the Islamist party leaders.
In this aspect, PAS liberals, rejected by party members during the recently concluded party election, are not expected to advance far in their attempts to remove the party from the pact and replaces it with their own party that would be set up soon.
The rejects, who are loyal to Anwar however are said to have been carried away in their act by trying to unseat Hadi as president, a move purported supported by DAP claiming it was the right thing to do to strengthen the pact.
In reality, Anwar himself would probably not want Hadi to be unseated as president given that their relationship went back way before PR was formed, during their youth days in Muslim Youth Movement of Malaysia (Abim).
Azmin’s act in delaying decision on DAP’s demand to cut ties is probably following Anwar’s advise as they viewed DAP’s act as being rash, probably angry with Hadi’s act of ignoring Lim Guan Eng’s ‘tanterum’ for not attending meetings of the the pact’s leadership council as well as implementing Hudud in Kelantan.
For PKR, a multi-racial party but Malay-based with Malay leaders at the helm, Hudud is not viewed as ‘taboo’ given that it is a compulsory laws for all Muslims and the party accepted the laws but questioning the timing and method of implementation.
And most importantly, the political equation in Selangor is not just about numbers but also about the relationship with the state royalty where it is either Azmin or a PAS assemblyman is accepted by the Sultan.
Thus, DAP may not find any positive answer to its plan for PKR to cut ties with PAS after Hari Raya and they have to accept the fact that PAS rejects who supported the DAP are not powerful enough to maintain the status quo in the state.
In the meantime, Azmin plays the political game and wait for good sense to prevail among Selangor DAP leaders that can hold the state as it is at present until the next general election.