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Thursday, February 25, 2016

Major crisis brewing in Pakatan Harapan

SHAH ALAM - Less than two months after signing a historic code of ethics, Pakatan Harapan is facing an acid test with an open war of words between two of its key leaders.

The clash between Penang Chief Minister Lim Guan Eng, who is the DAP secretary-general, and Selangor Mentri Besar Datuk Seri Azmin Ali, the PKR deputy president, is threatening to escalate into a crisis with both sides stepping up their verbal salvos.

Lim and Azmin are standing their ground, refusing to budge over the controversy involving the former’s decision to dump two PKR assemblymen from their posts in government-linked companies in Penang.

Lim had accused Azmin of meddling in Penang’s administrative affairs after the latter announced that PKR would stand by its two assemblymen who were dumped from their positions in Penang government-linked companies (GLCs) by the Chief Minister.

Yesterday, Azmin explained that he made the announcement after a decision was made by PKR and in his capacity as the party No.2.

“Why pick on me? I relayed the party’s political bureau’s decision ... not as Azmin Ali,” he told reporters after chairing the weekly state exco meeting in Shah Alam.

Azmin said he did not know why Lim alleged that he was interfering despite the decision being the party’s and not his.

“This was confirmed by (PKR vice-president) Tian Chua. I have said enough,” he added.

Lim’s political secretary Wong Hon Wai, speaking on behalf of his boss, maintained that it was improper for Azmin to “openly interfere” in the internal affairs of another state.

He said the removal of two PKR reps from the boards of the Penang GLCs was similar to the sacking of Tan Sri Khalid Ibrahim by PKR in 2014.

“Khalid said one thing during a meeting and acted the other way after that. DAP respected PKR’s decision to sack Khalid then and did not start a war of words with the party.

“We have to be consistent as both situations are similar. But why is PKR having daily statements on this very same scenario?” he said in a statement.

Azmin’s political secretary Mat Suhaimi Shafie had earlier told Lim to stop “twisting and diverting” Azmin’s statement on the sacking of the two assemblymen.

PKR’s Bukit Tengah assemblyman Ong Chin Wen and Kebun Bunga assemblyman Cheah Kah Peng had abstained on an Umno motion at the State Assembly last year calling for all government reclamation projects in the island to be halted.

Pakatan Harapan had inked the code of ethics, said to be the first such among Opposition parties, on Jan 9.

The code comprised seven main points governing how the coalition came up with common policies, how they conduct themselves and dealt with differences of opinion between the three ideologically distinct PKR, DAP and Parti Amanah Negara (Amanah).

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