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Wan Azizah needs to prove majority support: Selangor chief minister

Selangor Chief Minister Abdul Khalid has said the claim by Parti Keadilan Rakyat (PKR) president Dr Wan Azizah Wan Ismail that she has majority support from Selangor assemblymen to take up the chief minister post must go through the proper process in the 56-seat State Assembly.

SHAH ALAM: Selangor Chief Minister Abdul Khalid Ibrahim said on Thursday (Aug 14) the claim by Parti Keadilan Rakyat (PKR) president Dr Wan Azizah Wan Ismail that she has majority support from Selangor assemblymen to take up the chief minister post must go through the proper process in the 56-seat State Assembly. The claim, he said, should be translated as a no confidence vote in the State Assembly as stipulated in the State Constitution.

"The process is important as the state government is governed by legislation and due legal processes should be adhered to by all, including the people and leaders in the state. "We opine that until the process is carried out, the state government will carry on as usual. All these efforts (to remove me as chief minister) are subject to the powers vested with the Sultan of Selangor," he said in a statement here today.

Dr Wan Azizah in a press conference in Subang Jaya on Thursday announced that she has obtained support from 30 Pakatan Rakyat (PR) assemblymen for her to take up the chief minister post.

Two members of Malaysia's opposition Islamic Party PAS had openly pledged their support for Dr Wan Azizah to become the next head of the Selangor state government. It comes ahead of the PAS' meeting on Sunday to determine whether the party would stay in Pakatan Rakyat - the opposition coalition.

It is a numbers game in the battle for control of Selangor's state government. Opposition parties - Islamic party PAS and Democratic Action Party (DAP) - each has 15 seats in the 56-seat assembly. Opposition leader Anwar Ibrahim's Parti Keadilan Rakyat has 13, after the chief minister was expelled from the party and became an independent. The ruling party UMNO has 12 seats.

Mr Abdul Khalid claimed that he has the backing of PAS and UMNO - giving him the support of 28 seats, or half of the assembly. But the opposition alliance Pakatan Rakyat has now shown it has the upper hand. Two assemblymen from PAS have openly declared their support for Parti Keadilan's pick for the next head of the Selangor state government - PKR President Wan Azizah. Saari Sungib, PAS state assemblyman for Ulu Klang, said: "I stood by what I've signed to support Dr Wan Azizah."

With at least 30 assemblymen on their side, Pakatan Rakyat leaders have urged Mr Abdul Khalid to immediately resign voluntarily. Penang Chief Minister Lim Guan Eng said: "Khalid Ibrahim has lied to Tuanku (Sultan Sharafuddin Idris Shah), he does not command the support of the majority of the Selangor State Assembly, he should apologise to Tuanku and resign honourably."

Mr Anwar, who is PKR's advisor, said: "You have lost your mandate, it's a technical matter now, it's a matter of time." But Mr Abdul Khalid is not about to budge. He has challenged Dr Wan Azizah to prove her majority by moving a no-confidence vote in the State Assembly.

Dr Wan Azizah meanwhile has written to the palace declaring the Abdul Khalid government illegitimate. She is also seeking the sultan's consent to convene a special assembly to prove that she has the majority in the house. But until she is officially sworn in as Selangor's new chief minister, political analysts say the risk of uncertainty remains.

Ibrahim Suffian, a political analyst, said: "A week or two weeks are too long in politics, especially at a critical stage like this. You don't know out of 30, how many will stick with their declarations of support and whether people will change their minds."

With the sultan reportedly away for two weeks, Pakatan Rakyat will have to wait for the palace's response, just as it continues to await PAS to formally decide whether to remain an ally by endorsing Dr Wan Azizah as the first woman chief minister on Sunday.