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Thursday, December 30, 2010

In other words….

The State Government is fully aware that since Pakatan Rakyat formed the new government after the March 2008 general election the State Government machinery has been throwing a spanner in the works every step of the way in an attempt to sabotage Pakatan Rakyat.

THE CORRIDORS OF POWER

Raja Petra Kamarudin

Below are three pieces of news items from Malaysiakini running into four pages about the new Constitutional Crisis that is about to erupt in Selangor -- which is reminiscent of what happened in Perak more than two years ago.

Four pages is a lot of reading and considering that Malaysians are a bunch of lazy buggers let me summarise the whole thing for you.

1) The Selangor State Government knew that the Selangor State Secretary was due for retirement and that the State Secretary is a crucial position and that the Perak State Secretary played a crucial role in bringing down the Pakatan Rakyat State Government in Perak over two years ago.

2) The Selangor Menteri Besar handed over this very important and sensitive issue of selecting the new State Secretary to a mere Political Secretary to handle. In fact, he did not even bother to meet the Sultan to discuss this very important and sensitive issue to ensure that there are no hiccups.

3) This matter was not given prompt attention and there was a long delay in coming to a decision resulting in the Federal Government being able to steal a march on the State Government.

4) By the time the state had shortlisted the number of candidates to three the Federal Government had beat the State Government to the starting line by proposing their own candidate in favour of the three shortlisted by the State Government.

5) The candidate chosen by the Federal Government and agreed by the Sultan is an enemy of Pakatan Rakyat who has done many things in the past that are not in favour of Pakatan Rakyat.

6) The State Government will either have to shut up and agree to the choice of the Federal Government or else go to war with the Sultan.

7) The State Government is fully aware that the choice of State Secretary was done in bad faith and is aimed at undermining and bringing down the Pakatan Rakyat State Government.

8) The State Government is fully aware that Prime Minister Najib Tun Razak has sworn to grab back Selangor from Pakatan Rakyat.

9) The State Government is fully aware that since Pakatan Rakyat formed the new government after the March 2008 general election the State Government machinery has been throwing a spanner in the works every step of the way in an attempt to sabotage Pakatan Rakyat.

10) The State Government is fully aware that the easiest and surest way of bringing down the State Government is to make sure that the State Administration works opposite and against the elected government.

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(1) 'Khusrin came last in job interview'

The federal government's nominee for the Selangor state secretary's post was ranked last among six candidates interviewed by a state-appointed panel, a state government source said.

According to the source, outgoing Selangor Islamic Religious Department (Jais) head Mohd Khusrin Munawi failed to impress the panel during the interview.

"Khusrin could not even speak English properly. In fact, he could not even speak Arabic properly, despite being the Jais director," the highly-placed source said.

Menteri Besar Khalid Ibrahim had appointed a special panel - comprising state assembly speaker Teng Chang Khim and excos Dr Xavier Jayakumar and Hasan Mohamed Ali - to interview Khusrin, along with five other senior civil servants, several weeks ago.

The source said state Economic Planning Unit director Noordin Sulaiman came in tops, followed by Petaling Jaya mayor Roslan Sakiman and Subang Jaya Municipal Council president Mohammad Adnan Md Ikshan.

Following that, these three names were forwarded to the palace on Dec 17 to seek the Sultan's decision on the replacement for outgoing state secretary Ramli Mahmud.

What criteria the panel used in its selection is uncertain.

Khusrin had read economics at Universiti Kebangsaan Malaysia and is scheduled to start work as state secretary on Jan 1.

No time limit to hand over the shortlist

Meanwhile, the Menteri Besar's Office rubbished claims by the Selangor Sultan's private secretary Mohamad Munir Bani that the state government was late in handing over its list of candidates for the post.

Khalid's political secretary Faekah Husin insisted that there was no time limit or deadline in appointing a state secretary, especially since Ramli's contract only ends on March 20 next year.

"Although the setting up of the special panel is not compulsory, the Pakatan Rakyat state government has been putting good practices into place, whereby the appointments of senior positions are done transparently, freely and responsibly.

"The MB does not want to be the sole decider in appointing the top civil servant in the state," Faekah said.

It was reported in Berita Harian that Munir had blamed the Pakatan government for being tardy in handing over its candidates list, hence the Sultan's approval of the candidate suggested by the federal government earlier.

Faekah also called on civil societies in the state to perform a solat hajat for "wisdom and strength" for the Sultan in handling this "miscommunication", and appealed for the people of Selangor to remain calm.

Tumultuous relationship

Mohd Khusrin's thorny relationship with the state government stemmed largely from his ban on speakers at mosques and surau without Jais' permission, among others.

The most prominent case involved Jais' decision to take legal action against former Perlis mufti Mohd Asri Zainal Abidin for giving a religious talk at a bungalow in Ampang last year.

Recently, Khusrin issued a warning to the committee members of Surau Al Ehsan, Gombak, for inviting PAS president Abdul Hadi Awang, a renowned religious scholar, to a speaking function on Nov 22.

He had also suspended the committee of the Al Huda surau in Kajang for allowing Serdang MP Teo Nie Ching, a non-Muslim, to enter its premises during a breaking-of-fast function.

Some lawmakers have gone as far as to call the appointment of Khusrin as state secretary "a form of sabotage" of Selangor by the federal government.

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(2) Group moots emergency sitting to say no to Khusrin

The aides to Selangor Pakatan Rakyat elected representatives association (Selproa) have urged the government to convene an emergency sitting of the state legislative assembly to reject the federal government's nominee for the state secretary's post.

Selproa president Abdul Razak Ismail said this must be undertaken to protect the interests of the people of Selangor.

Abdul Razak was commenting on news reports that the palace had approved the appointment of outgoing Selangor Islamic Religious Department (Jais) head Mohd Khusrin Munawi as the new state secretary beginning Jan 1.

“I propose that an emergency state assembly sitting be convened to reject Khusrin's appointment. We don't want Khusrin to become a thorn in the flesh for the Pakatan administration,” he said in a statement today.

The state government has been at odds with Khusrin in recent years, accusing the latter of taking actions that undermined the Pakatan administration.

Menteri Besar Khalid Ibrahim had reportedly submitted three names, not including Khusrin's, to the palace for its consideration, but the palace had reportedly accepted the federal government's recommendation.

'Preventing BN putsch'

Commenting on this, Abdul Razak said the latest event was a case of manipulation of the palace by BN.

“The palace is being used again to validate attempts by Umno and BN to seize Selangor,” he said in reference to BN's successful ouster of the Pakatan administration in Perak last February.

Abdul Razak argued that BN was attempting to sidestep the law. Referring to Chapter III of the state constitution, he said the appointment of the state secretary does not require the consent of the palace because the state secretary reports directly to the menteri besar.

He said that if Khusrin were to be sworn in by the Selangor Sultan on Jan 5, it would be against conventional practice.

“Normally, the state secretary takes the oath (of office) in front of the menteri besar, as a symbol of his close cooperation with the state civil service and the state administration,” he said.

Khusrin's appointment is the latest in a series of conflicts between the Selangor and the federal governments.

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(3) 'Federal gov't hiding behind palace'

The Federal government is a "coward" for hiding behind the palace in the appointment of the new Selangor state secretary, the Seri Setia assemblyperson Nik Nazmi Nik Ahmad says.

The appointment of former Selangor Islamic Religious Department (Jais) director Mohd Khusrin Munawi is bound to deepen the rift between the state and federal governments, Nik Nazmi said, calling the move "sabotage".

"It is only common sense and basic professionalism to appoint someone who can work with the government of the day. But here, the federal government has blatantly taken on someone with a clear record of going against the state government.

"This is sabotage," said Nik Nazmi, who was a former political secretary to Menteri Besar Khalid Ibrahim.

"(Prime Minister) Najib (Abdul Razak) has only two objectives - winning the next general election and taking back Selangor because that is where the money is. In other words, I'd call him bacul (coward)," he said when contacted.

With Khusrin's appointment to take effect on Jan 1, many in the Selangor government are calling it a clearcut effort to cripple the Pakatan Rakyat administration.

Khalid yet to meet Sultan

While chief secretary to the government Sidek Hassan has insisted that the approval of Sultan Sharafuddin Idris Shah of Selangor, has been obtained, it is understood that Khalid has been frantically attempting to seek an audience with the Sultan.

Khalid traditionally has an audience with the Sultan every Wednesday morning, before holding the state executive council meeting.

However, several news reports have indicated that the Sultan is away on leave and will only be back in Selangor on Jan 3, three days after Khusrin is supposed to start work.

Some of the news reports quoted the Sultan's private secretary, Mohamad Munir Bani, as saying that the appointment was final and could not be disputed. Munir also blamed the state government for being late in sending in its recommendations for the post.

It is understood that Khalid had sent in a list of three candidates - including local government heads and a senior state civil servant - all of whom have been interviewed by a special panel appointed by him.

In the meantime, it is learnt that the MB will issue a press statement on the matter later today.

'Appointment goes against protocol'

In defending his former boss, Nik Nazmi said the announcement of the appointment without the MB being informed earlier is considered as "going against protocol".

"Is it right that the MB, the head of the government in which Khusrin will work as the top state civil servant, gets to know about the appointment only through the media?

"The state constitution requires the state secretary to take his oath of office in front of the MB, indicating that a free and respectful relationship is supposed to exist between the MB and the state secretary to smoothen the government machinery," he said.

With Khusrin ranked at Jusa C, Nik Nazmi added, he was under-qualified for the post of the top civil servant in the state - a position that comes with a Jusa A ranking.

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