Battle of the two tigers and a tigress
By Joceline Tan
The attacks against PKR’s most powerful lady in Selangor are a smoke screen between two even more powerful factions in the party for control of the state. FAEKAH Husin must have felt as though a hundred arrows had pierced through her pint-sized frame in the last few days.
The powerful and outspoken political secretary to Selangor Mentri Besar Tan Sri Khalid Ibrahim has been under attack from her own PKR people and the Internet is throbbing with speculation that she has overstepped her role, bossing people around and making unpopular decisions.
But the hostilities against Faekah are just a smoke screen for the larger fight for the control of Selangor in the general election and it involves some of the biggest names in the party.
Faekah: The powerful and outspoken political secretary to Khalid has been under attack from her own PKR people. On one side is PKR deputy president and Selangor chief Azmin Ali, who sees himself as the state’s next mentri besar.
On the other side is Khalid and PKR president Datuk Seri Dr Wan Azizah Wan Ismail. Both have a common goal they do not want Azmin moving into the MB’s office.
Both sides are positioning themselves to have the main say over the candidates and seats in the general election so they will be in a stronger position to claim the MB’s post.
Prior to this, mini factions aligned to either side had bickered so fiercely over seats in the Petaling Jaya city and Subang Jaya municipal councils that the swearing-in of councillors was delayed for months.
The fight over the posts was intense because the two councils are the biggest and richest in Selangor. There are lucrative contracts to be dished out to supporters, lots of funds to be disbursed and everyone wants a piece of the pie. In that sense, the conflict is essentially about power.
Forget about all that high-faluting talk about new politics and “saving Malaysia from Umno” that one hears at Pakatan Rakyat ceramah. These people are not very much different from those they criticise.
Faekah has been an easy target in the latest feud because she has a big personality and, according to her detractors, “a big mouth” that has offended people in the course of her work.
“It is classic traditional warfare. It’s easier to paint Faekah as a little Rasputin’ than to hit out directly at the emperor’ himself,” said a PKR insider.
Besides, said the insider, the stakes in PKR are getting higher for Azmin. He is not only fighting for the MB’s post but for his own survival following the scandalous video grabs of a man resembling him with a woman in a toilet.
Outwardly, Azmin has insisted that he has no problems with Khalid and has even praised Khalid’s performance. But he has backed calls by a Kami Sayangkan PKR campaign for Faekah to be sacked from the MB’s office.
While all this was going on, PKR strategy director Rafizi Ramli suddenly resigned as the CEO of the Selangor Economic Advisor’s Office, sparking speculation that he is throwing in his lot with Azmin.
Rafizi tried to downplay the political speculation, saying he is no “superman” and that he needs to spend more time on politics. But there is probably more to it than meets the eye.
Rafizi got the RM15,000-a-month job in the Selangor Government, thanks to politics. It is likely he is getting out also because of politics.
Faekah is taking all the hits but she does not mind because she is fiercely loyal to Dr Wan Azizah, whom she served as political secretary before she (Faekah) moved on to Khalid. She has openly slammed Azmin, saying it is an open secret he had wanted her out of the way as early as 2010 and that he had opposed her appointment to Khalid’s office.
The rivalry between Azmin and Khalid began from the day Khalid was chosen over Azmin to be MB. It became worse when Khalid contemplated going for the deputy president’s post in the 2010 party election.
When Azmin won the deputy presidency, a compromise was struck with Khalid giving up the Selangor PKR chief’s post to Azmin. It was a bad idea having two tigers on one hill because they are now on the prowl. To compound the situation there is a fierce tigress joining the fray.
Khalid has not said much apart from making it very clear that he trusts Faekah and that he is standing by her. No one in PKR really expects Khalid to sack Faekah. She does a lot of running around for him and often speaks on his behalf. He will not allow her to be sacrificed because he needs her more than ever as a buffer against Azmin.
About a month ago, reporters noticed Khalid going around in sunglasses, even indoors. The joke among them was that the MB could be going through a mid-life crisis but Khalid apparently had Lasik treatment.
He no longer needs his old-fashioned prescription glasses, which made him look like an absent-minded professor. He can now make more direct eye contact, which is a plus point in politics. More than that, his updated look is a hint that the man is here to stay.
According to the insider, this is only the beginning and the warfare can only intensify. The Olympics have yet to start in London but the games have begun in Selangor - The Star