Khalid should stand firm, for democracy’s sake
Khalid Ibrahim was not appointed as Menteri Besar by Parti Keadilan Rakyat, nor by Pakatan Rakyat.
He was appointed by the Sultan of Selangor.
Although it is announced he had been sacked as party member, pending appeal, the party cannot sack him from his constitutional position as Menteri Besar.
Khalid Ibrahim, pledging to continue as Menteri Besar, said tonight he would seek an audience with the Sultan of Selangor to brief the ruler on the latest developments and seek the Sultan’s advice. He maintained that PKR’s decision against him was unfair and failed to provide him due process. » Khalid’s statement in full
Political parties have no standing nor any place under the constitution. They have no standing in, nor are they members of, the state assembly.
Neither the sultan nor the Speaker has any need to take into account the views of any party.
Given their lack of standing it is only by courtesy and convention that political party leaders’ views on the candidate for Menteri Besar are heard, immediately after an election or when an MB resigns.
Khalid’s case is unprecedented.
Despite his party’s decision, he still is a member of the state assembly. The party cannot sack him as state assemblyman, either. His standing as a member of the state assembly, and his ability to secure the confidence of a majority of assembly members, is all that is needed for him to remain.
Notwithstanding what the late Sultan Azlan Shah did in Perak, it would be wrong, in my view, for the Sultan of Selangor to intervene in times of political crisis except in extreme circumstances (eg civil commotion) or paralysis in the state administration. Neither condition exists. There is only a crisis in PKR, and by extension, in Pakatan Rakyat. It is a party crisis, and potentially a coalition crisis, but not yet a matter affecting the administration of the state.
His Royal Highness should therefore not intervene, and should remain aloof in what is essentially a political process. He should let the process work itself out.
The choice of whether to call a sitting of the assembly
into session remains with Khalid and the speaker.
Khalid can sit it out until the assembly holds its next scheduled meeting, no matter how much shouting is heard from PKR, and there will be a lot of it from PKR and especially the lawyers in the party who, after all, have a vested interest in the matter.
He should stand firm. Let the constitutional process work itself out. And let PKR show its commitment (if it ever had any) to constitutional due process.
It is doubtful that PKR has the backbone to abide by democratic practice. I never had much confidence that PKR would stand by the democratic process in practice, given Anwar Ibrahim’s history of fondness for extra-constitutional means of achieving power.
All the machinations since 2008 point rather to the belief that the ends (Anwar and the opposition’s desire to unseat Umno-BN) justifies the means, and democracy be hanged.