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Tuesday, December 28, 2010

Rising discontent within Selangor civil service over Khusrin


Amid rising disgruntlement within the Selangor civil service over the proposed appointment of Khusrin Munawi as the new Selangor State Secretary, Pakatan Rakyat leaders confirmed that they would not accept the appointment foisted on them by Prime Minister Najib Razak even though it may have the Sultan's blessings.

Currently the head of the Selangor Religious Affairs Department or JAIS, Khusrin has been accused of being an "under-performer". As such, when the Chief Secretary to the federal government announced his 'appointment' on Monday, Selangorians were taken aback. The controversial JAIS chief is due to take over from incumbent Ramli Mahmud next month.

"In terms of qualification, he is far behind Ramli. There are also others more senior and more capable than him. Why aren't opportunities given to the younger set who have professionally trained in public administration. Furthermore, even from a religious point of view, Khusrin's actions are not initated from a wish to propagate the religion but more from a wish to please Umno and to help Umno achieve a certain political objective such as in the prosecution of Dr Asri and in not objecting to sports betting just because Umno wanted to legalise football gambling," a top-level Selangor servant told Malaysia Chronicle.

Najib pushed for Khusrin despite allegations of underperformance

Meanwhile, Malay-language daily Sinar Harian reported Mohamad Munir Bani, the private secretary to the Selangor Sultan, as having 'confirmed' the appointment. Pundits however say Munir may have been giving his personal views, but even if the Sultan had approved, it was unlikely that Selangor Mentri Besar Khalid Ibrahim and his state executive councilors would accept Khusrin.

“It is not the sole prerogative of the federal government nor the Sultan’s to appoint the state secretary. It also requires a third vote – the nod from the state government,” PKR vice president Tian Chua told Malaysia Chronicle.

Khusrin's appointment is believed to be mooted by Najib himself. The PM and Umno president needs all the fire power he can muster to topple the popular Pakatan state government. On Monday, Umno had also announced that Najib would retain his post as the head of Selangor Umno - a move that will surely pile additional pressure on him.

The office of the state secretary wields enormous clout when it comes to administrative matters at the state assembly. During the Perak coup d'etat engineered by Najib in 2009, it was the combined support of the Perak Sultan and the Perak state secretary that helped him to bend the law in the BN's favor and oust Pakatan mentri besar Nizar Jamaluddin.

In Selangor now, there is talk of a "phase two" assault to topple the Khalid administration. "Phase one" had fizzled out following the tragic death of DAP political aide Teoh Beng Hock and graft-linked revelations of former Umno mentri besar Khir Toyo's RM24 million palatial home. Speculation has been rife that it was Selangor Umno that had pushed the Malaysian Anti Corruption Commission into forcing a false confession from Beng Hock to incriminate his bosses for graft as part of a diabolical plan to bring down Khalid's government.

No surprise then that Khusrin, who is a staunch Umno supporter, has come under attack and his neutrality questioned. His appointment is being disputed and challenged by Pakatan Mentri Besar Khalid Ibrahim. Khalid has his own shortlist and will meet the Sultan on December 29.

“Even the private secretary to the Sultan states clearly that in his opinion - please note that it is his opnion only – that the power of appointment rests with the JPA (federal government). So our fight is with the federal government and should they choose to continue to disrespect and ignore our input, we will challenge them," Tian added. - Malaysia Chronicle

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