The ‘war’ between Tan Sri Khalid Ibrahim and Azmin Ali has taken a new twist with Parti Keadilan Rakyat (PKR) de facto chief Datuk Seri Anwar Ibrahim taking the side of his loyalist Azmin.
Anwar, who presided the party political bureau meeting on Tuesday and supreme council meeting Wednesday had said Azmin’s dismissal did not follow proper procedure and as such was invalid.
The political meeting heard Azmin’s version because Khalid did attend and similarly, last night’s PKR supreme council meeting also heard Azmin’s version as Khalid was again absent.
Khalid, the Selangor Mentri Besar and also the State Development Corporation (PKNS) chairman had dismissed Azmin as a board member, citing it was decided by PKNS general manager Datuk Othman Omar and the state exco agreed to it.
However, the general manager said the dismissal was decided by the state exco.
With Anwar’s backing, the issue seems to be getting worse as Khalid is now placed in an awkward position given Anwar is still his boss in the party.
He is actually in a Catch 22 position.
To withdraw the letter and reinstate Azmin will reflect Khalid’s ‘defeat’ in the ‘political war of power’ in the state and not heeding Anwar’s ‘directive’ is tantamount to protesting the party president and obviously can be termed as insubordination.
How will he withdraw the dismissal letter and reinstate Azmin? Doing so will put him in an awkward position where he will be seen as a Mentri Besar without ‘guts’ where all decisions need to be referred to Anwar.
As it is, even the salary increase for excos have been held back pending revision after Azmin and his supporters expressed disapproval despite the state excos agreed to the decision.
Khalid has tried to make an impact as the administrative chief in Selangor, minus any interference from his party boss, to show he is capable of running a state.
However, things are not as easy as he has to please not only the other partners in Pakatan Rakyat (PR) but also the Palace where his loyalty is priority.
Azmin’s dismissal is seen as Khalid’s ‘political move’ to clip Azmin of furthering his influence as well as eroding his influence with the coming party poll, probably to position himself (Khalid) in a better position should he decides to contest for the party deputy president.
Azmin is read as Anwar’s proxy in the party and whatever is in Khalid’s mind may not work out well as the party members interpret it as ‘furthering someone else’ agenda’ not Khalid’s himself.
Politically, Khalid has not been a success as even when he was in Umno, he failed to even got elected as a division chief, and the same goes in PKR.
With Anwar’s backing for Azmin now, the stage is set for Khalid to either ‘tow’ the leadership or face tumultuous journey as Selangor Mentri Besar until the next general election.