On 22 July, 2014, Parti Keadilan (PKR or People's Justice Party) officially announced that it had decided to put forward Datuk Seri Dr. Wan Azizah as its preferred candidate for Selangor State Menteri Besar (Chief Minister) to replace the current Chief Minister, Tan Sri Khalid Ibrahim, also the party's member.READ HERE
As PKR is a member of the Pakatan Rakyat (People's Pact) coalition, together with the Democratic Action Party (DAP) and the Pan-Malaysian Islamic Party (PAS), which together govern Selangor State, the next step was for Pakatan Rakyat Leadership Council to agree to move a no-confidence motion against Khalid in the Selangor State Assembly. PAS President, Datuk Seri Abdul Hadi Awang does not agree personally and supports Khalid, but said that decision is still up to his party.
“That is my stand and I hope all PAS leaders are with me,” he said, adding that the decision was made after considering the views of PAS members. Hadi said a majority of the PAS grassroots agreed that Khalid should remain as Menteri Besar. However, this would depend on the Sultan of Selangor, he told reporters when met at his house in Rusila on Friday." READ HERE
Today, the Malay Mail Online reported:- "All three Pakatan Rakyat (PR) parties have already agreed to nominate Datuk Seri Dr Wan Azizah Wan Ismail to replace Tan Sri Khalid Ibrahim as the new Selangor mentri besar, PKR said today." MORE HERE
This all began with PKR's political gambit known as the "Kajang move", earlier this year. The game originally was to get opposition leader, Datuk Seri Anwar Ibrahim into the Selangor Chief Minister's seat. The sitting PKR State Assemblyman for Kajang resigned his seat to make way for Anwar. This triggered a by-election where Anwar would contest for the safe seat but this was thwarted by the Appeals Court's ruling on the evening of 7th March, 2014, that overturned the earlier court decision to acquit Anwar of the sodomy charge against him, thus finding Anwar guilty and sentenced him to jail, which immediately disqualified Anwar from contesting Kajang.
So instead, PKR put forward Dr. Wan Azizah, Anwar's wife as candidate and she won the Kajang state seat, and the rest followed to oust Khalid.
However, Khalid can throw a spanner into their works by going before the Sultan of Selangor, tender his resignation as Chief Minister and request that His Royal Highness dissolve the Selangor State Assembly and call for fresh state elections. Universiti Malaya's Centre for Democracy and Elections polls show that support for Pakatan Rakyat in Selangor has dropped 15% to 35% today, compared to a year ago when support was 50%, READ HERE but it's still likely that Pakatan Rakyat will still win a snap elections if it's held now, though not with the over two-thirds majority it currently has in the Selangor State Assembly.
But what does all this mean for us?
Politicking aside, what does this mean for us suffering Selangorians, in terms of the current water woes with the unusually prolonged dry spell with no rain for days or even weeks due to the El Nino effect and the current South West Monsoon, the Kinrara-Damansara Expressway (KIDEX) issue and the issue of Selangor State Religious Department's (JAIS') refusal to return the Iban language Bibles containing the word "Allah" for God, which the department seized from the offices of the Bible Society of Malaysia in Damansara Kim, a housing estate in Selangor just across the border from Malaysia's capital Kuala Lumpur, which is a Federal Territory.
However, the water problems are of greatest concern to residents of Selangor and Kuala Lumpur, since it adversely affects everyone, irrespective of ethnicity or faith, as well as businesses and industries which rely on water. It especially affects people and businesses in the Klang Valley, an urban conurbation which includes Kuala Lumpur all the way to Port Klang on the coast of the Straits of Malacca.
The handling and management of Selangor's water resources, including dams, pumping stations, treatment plants and the distribution network was assigned to four private concessionaires by the Selangor State Government when the state was under the Barisan Nasional (National Front) coalition and after Paktan Rakyat won Selangor in March 2008, it's been moving to bring back management of all its water resources under Selangor State's control, which is fine in principal. So far, Chief Minister Khalid has signed agreements with three of the concessionaires and also has agreed to construction of the Langat 2 plant which will treat water from Pahang State on the east coast, channelled through a tunnel under the mountain range between the two states.
The sticking point is with the last of the four concessionaires which wants to be paid RM2.5 billion for its part of the system, whilst Khalid is willing to pay just one tenth of that - i.e. RM250 million. However, PKR de-facto leader Anwar Ibrahim agrees that Selangor pay the RM2.5 billion, hence the Kajang move and the bid to oust Khalid, especially since the water problem is a major reason for the loss of support in Selangor for its Pakatan State Government.
Blogger Raja (Prince) Petra Kamaruddin wrote in his blog post Selangor’s Watergate about to explode :-
"Anwar brought Wan Azmi (who owns 30% of SPLASH, one of the concessionaires) to meet Khalid to try to resolve this matter. Anwar supports the RM2.5 billion claim but Khalid is stubbornly sticking to the figure of RM250 million. And this is why Anwar is mad as hell and wants Khalid out. And this is also why Rafizi said today that once Dr Wan Azizah takes over as Menteri Besar they are going to review the water agreements."
Raja Petra also alleged possible corruption on the part of PKR.
"The billion-ringgit question is if they review the water agreements once Dr Wan Azizah takes over how much from that extra RM2.25 billion is going to end up as ‘under-the-table’ money and who are going to be the recipients of these kickbacks?"
To that, Wan Azmi hit back in a letter to Raja Petra:-
"As a shareholder of Splash I was appalled to receive from KDEB an offer representing only 10% of the audited nav of the Company. As the MB Khalid Ibrahim was not prepared to see me, I approached Anwar Ibrahim, who after all is Economic Advisor to Selangor to set up a meeting for me so that I could hear some intelligent explanation why SPLASH was offered such a derisory offer. Khalid did not like that, but if he had bothered to meet me or answered the many letters I wrote, Anwar Ibrahim need not have to be involved. Flattering as it may be, saying that I may have the power and influence to unseat MBs is one spin too far."
"SPLASH has an audited net asset value of RM2.5 billion plus another 16 years of unexpired concession life. That unexpired term in net present value terms is worth another RM1.4 billion. Through KDEB, Khalid offered to buy SPLASH for RM250 million. That’s a ninety per cent discount on NAV, never mind against full concession valuation. SPLASH happens to be a well-run, efficient and profitable company, not a consignment of rotting fish to deserve such derisory offer." MORE HERE
Now who is Raja Petra Kamaruddin? Well, Raja Petra is a member of the Selangor royal family. His paternal grandmother, Tengku Badariah is an elder sister of Sultan Hishamuddin Alam Shah, the eight Sultan of Selangor, Whilst his father, Raja Tun Uda is a direct descendant of Sultan Salahuddin Shah, the first Sultan of Selangor (reign 1745 - 1778). His mother is Welsh, hence his Caucasian look.
Raya Petra is an opposition political activist who advocates for transparency, accountability and justice in government. At one time he also was a leading member of PKR and despite his royal status, he was detained twice under the Internal Security Act (now repealed), which allows for detention without trial, lost a suit for libel and was ordered to pay RM7 million to Universiti Utara Malaysia and its Vice-Chancellor.
On 17 July, 2008, Raja Petra was charged with three counts of criminal intimidation over his statutory declaration on the murder of Mongolian translator Altantuya Shaariibuu. He is alleged to have defamed Deputy Prime Minister's wife Datin Seri Rosmah Mansor by making a libellous statement in the declaration which he affirmed on 18 June when he knew that it would tarnish her good name. He also faced similar charges against Kolonel Norhayati Hassan and her husband Acting Kolonel Abdul Aziz Buyong. On 6 May 2008, he was charged with sedition for allegedly implying that the Deputy Prime Minister Najib Razak was involved in the sensational killing of Altantuya,
Raja Petra went into self-imposed exile in Manchester, England where he continues to post on his blog Malaysia Today.
He later distanced himself from the statutory declaration in an interview with TV3, saying his accusations linking Najib and Rosmah to the murder was repeating information passed onto him by opposition figures, rather than information he knew to be true himself. He stated that he did not genuinely believe that Rosmah was at the murder scene.
Raja Petra has since left the PKR over disagreement with its leadership and has moved to a more independent third position between Pakatan and Barisan Nasional.
For those who are unfamiliar, Malaysia is unique amongst the world's remaining monarchies in that it does not have a hereditary monarch. Instead nine of its 13 states each have their own respective monarchs. most of whom are called Sultan, whilst the ruler of Perlis is called Raja and of Negeri Sembilan is called Yang di-Pertuan Besar. In some states, succession is directly in line from the last ruler who had passed away, whilst in some others it's more complicated - i.e. either by rotation between royal families, or in Negeri Sembilan, where the Yang di-Pertuan Besar (something like "Supreme Chieftain) must be a direct descendant of Raja Radin, who is elected by a council of four Negeri Sembilan chieftains. The other four states - i.e. Penang, Malacca, Sabah & Sarawak have no royalty but instead have a governor.
Anyway, rather interestingly, all these squabbles and faction fights are mostly going on between current PKR members and between former members and PKR.
Right or wrong strategy?
So, is Khalid wrong to offer only RM250 million, instead of RM2.5 billion as demanded by Wan Azmi and is Anwar right?
Under the right political conditions, there should be no issue even if the Selangor State Government seizes the concessionaires assets without any compensation.
However, right now, Pakatan Rakyat rules Selangor, whilst Barisan Nasional rules the Malaysian Federation. Water is an essential resource for all and in Malaysia, land and water matters come under the jurisdiction of the states, so until Pakatan Rakyat can win the Federal Government, it will have to do what best it can about the water problems within the scope of its jurisdiction and powers as Selangor State government WITHOUT inconveniencing us Selangorians. So it MUST NOT let the problem drag on without resolution, whilst the people of Selangor suffer.
Of course, if Pakatan Rakyat were to become the Federal government, then they can take a firmer and more extensive action, but the way Khalid is handling the situation right now, resolution of the water crisis could be further delayed and cause further distress to us Selangor residents.
Also what does PKR mean when the say that with Khalid out of the way, they will "review the water agreements"?
Will that put everything back to square one and they have to start negotiations with the four concessionaires all over again and thus further drag on the water problems?
The ball is in the Selangor State Government's court.
Make the wrong decision and we suffering Selangorians suffer more water rationing and whatever comes, and you lose Selangor in the next elections, well that's your problem and don't come crying with those lame excuses like "the elections were rigged", "40,000 Bangladesh nationals voted", "the indelible ink was not quite indelible", black shirted protest rallies, BERSIH 4.0, 5.0, 6.0, 7.0, 8.0, 9.0, 10.0 ---- BERSIH nnn.0, etc. etc. etc. etc.........
REMEMBER. SELANGOR RESIDENTS ARE NOT A FOOTBALL TO BE KICKED AROUND IN A POLITICAL GAME WITH THE BARISAN NASIONAL AND THE WATER CONCESSIONAIRES.
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Note: This is a personal blog which supports but otherwise has no connection to the Say No To KIDEX (SNTK) concerned residents' group in Section 14, which opposes the KIDEX elevated highway through our home town, Petaling Jaya. They have their own Facebook page. Click here