SHAH ALAM, Dec 29 – Throughout 2017, Selangor was plagued by a number of issues, including a state government political and administrative dilemma that led to doubts over the credibility and capability of Mentri Besar Datuk Seri Mohamed Azmin Mohd Ali in administrating the state.
The decision of the PAS Syura Council on May 11 to cut ties with Parti Keadilan Rakyat (PKR) dealt a big blow to the state government and gave rise to speculation of a possible change in the state government. The issue became intense with the polemic on the position of three PAS executive councillors, namely Datuk Iskandar Abdul Samad, Datuk Dr Ahmad Yunus Hairi and Zaidy Abdul Talib, in the state government administration that put Mohamed Azmin in a ‘tight’ spot.
Although the crisis was resolved when PAS ruled that the three councillors would remain in the state government until the state legislative assembly was dissolved, the matter drew criticism from various quarters who described the arrangement as “living under one roof despite being divorced”.
Selangor has 56 state constituencies, distributed among DAP (14 seats), PKR and PAS (13 each), Barisan Nasional (12) and Parti Amanah Negara and independents (two each). Various parties also began to question the strength of the PKR-DAP-PAS Pakatan Rakyat government that led to some people urging Mohamed Azmin to relinquish his post and have the state assembly dissolved to pave the way for a state election.
The year 2017 also saw the administration of Mohamed Azmin, ever since he replaced Tan Sri Abdul Khalid Ibrahim who was forced to resign on Sept 23, 2014, beset with controversies concerning corruption, misappropriation and abuse of power, including the graft investigation of his ‘strongman’, Ampang PKR Youth chief Datuk Adam Rosly Abdullah.
Several people, including an individual alleged to be his nephew, were held by the Malaysian Anti-Corruption Commission (MACC) to assist in an investigation into the illegal mining of sand and gravel in Selangor, which Mohamed Azmin claimed was a conspiracy to tarnish his reputation ahead of the 14th general election.
At the same time, Mohamed Azmin, who had rejected a Malaysian Anti-Corruption Commission suggestion for the state government to sign the Corruption-Free Pledge, was increasingly under pressure over the issue of distribution of land in Kampung Sungai Yu, Kuala Selangor, which was alleged to have been tainted by lack of transparency, abuse of power, malpractice and cronyism.
The water industry restructuring issue, which has yet to be finalised, continued to grip public attention due to Mohamed Azmin’s apparent indecisiveness and ‘refusal’ to offer any price for the acquisition of Syarikat Pengeluar Air Sungai Selangor Sdn Bhd (Splash).
Puncak Niaga Holdings Berhad (PNHB) filed a suit for almost RM14 billion against Abdul Khalid, Mohamed Azmin and the Government of Selangor after claiming that the state government had ‘defaulted’ on the takeover. Selangor also attracted public scrutiny when it was proposed that the ‘Better Beer Festival 2017’ and ‘Centro German F&B Party’ be held in the state in October after attempts to hold it in Kuala Lumpur were turned down by the local authorities.
The organising of the festivals, however, did not get the approval of the Royal Malaysia Police which received information that outsiders planned to launch an attack on the liquor parties. Besides, many quarters also objected to the holding of the festivals. Many also strongly criticised the stand of Mohamed Azmin and the state government that these festivals would be allowed on condition that the organisers adhered to the rules and regulations of the local authorities. The festivals were not held anyway. — Bernama