SHAH ALAM, Sept 25 — Selangor PAS leaders today collectively denied a statement issued by its state liaison committee secretary Mohd Khairuddin Othman which claimed the party was ready to abandon Pakatan Rakyat (PR).
The statement, which also indicated Selangor PAS was fully behind Datuk Hasan Ali and his criticisms against the select committee for competency, accountability and transparency (Selcat), received front-paged coverage in all mainstream newspapers today.
The state PAS commissioner has been causing a stir in PR by undermining the state government watch dog which is holding a public inquiry into the misuse of annual allocations by Barisan Nasional (BN) lawmakers ahead of the general election last year. According to him, Selcat had bullied the district officers who had been grilled over how millions of ringgit in taxpayers’ money was allowed to be almost completely used up in just two months.
Scrambling to contain the fallout, PAS leaders told The Malaysian Insider that Khairuddin had made unauthorised statements which were not sanctioned by the party’s state liaison committee. "He should not have made the statement because the issue was never discussed," said Meru assemblyman Dr Abdul Rani Othman. "I have personally talked with other PAS lawmakers and leaders. No one had been called to attend any meeting nor were our opinions sought," he said, adding that the state liaison committee secretary was expressing his personal opinion and was not speaking on behalf of Selangor
PAS. Abdul Rani said he had spoken out against individuals making such sweeping statements in the press during a recent PR meeting and was appalled his advice had been ignored. As for Selcat, he said the PR backbenchers fully supported the public inquiry. "No one should try to be a hero for the Malays or a hero for the other races. In PR we have to work for all," he said, in a clear reference to Hasan, who is seen as trying to garner support from the Malay-dominated civil service by criticising Selcat.
Rani said a meeting between the Selangor mentri besar and all PR leaders should be called as soon as possible iron out the problems internally. Even if there were problems with Selcat, the matter should have been settled behind closed doors instead of washing dirty linen in public, he said. Shah Alam MP Khalid Samad, (photo) who had called on Hasan to leave PR if he could not be a team player, described Khairuddin’s statement as “interesting”. "It’s a very serious policy statement which contradicts the PAS muktamar, the highest decision-making body in the party which voted to work toward strengthening PR," said Khalid.
Other PAS lawmakers today also confirmed the party had no intention of leaving PR. Sijangkang lawmaker Dr Ahmad Yunus laughed at the suggestion and said “I don’t think so.” while PAS’s Selangor executive councillor Iskandar Samad said the party was definitely staying in PR “despite all the bashing in the press.” When contacted, Khairuddin also backtracked from his earlier statement and said he was misquoted. "I made no mention about PAS leaving PR in my press statement," said the lawyer.
However, despite the U-turn the damage has been done. The issue of Selangor’s instability due to its constant infighting will likely be exploited by Barisan National (BN) during the upcoming by-election in Bagan Pinang where PAS is taking on Umno. Meanwhile, other Selangor PR partners today said they were giving room to PAS to sort out its internal problems. “I’ve been asked to stay out of it and allow PAS to deal with Hasan and Khairuddin,” said a state lawmaker who declined to elaborate further.