Monday, March 08, 2010

Khalid Samad, between the cloud and silver lining

Being suspended for six months from two party positions may be hard to swallow for some but for Shah Alam PAS MP Khalid Samad, it has been a blessing in disguise.

Khalid said the impact of the suspension on him was minimal compared to Selangor PAS commissioner Datuk Hasan Ali, who on the surface, seemed to have got off with a warning.

"Hasan's warning comes with a caveat. He can no longer make any statements damaging to Pakatan Rakyat. So his is a bit more severe than mine,” he told FMT in a recent exclusive interview.

It seems to have paid off as Hasan has been “toeing the line” judging by his public statements of late, Khalid noted.

“First, he has defended Penang Chief Minister (Lim) Guan Eng in the face of spurious attacks from other Pakatan Rakyat leaders against his administration.

“Selangor PAS also recently defended Menteri Besar Tan Sri Abdul Khalid Ibrahim (in the feud) against (government-owned) Yayasan Basmi Kemiskinan (YBK),” he said.

“That is what I have been asking for all this while, which was for Hasan to be more supportive, to be a team player and to toe the line,” he added.

But Khalid seems to have paid a hefty price for the courage of his convictions as his relationship with Hasan is not as cordial as it was when he was the latter's deputy.

“It is not a question of a clash of personalities or something deeply personal…it's not like I have a vendetta against him and want him out as commissioner.

“What I want him to do is to show some deference and act in accordance with what has been agreed and decided upon,” he explained.

And Khalid did not seem to mind if the suspension on him was the catalyst for Hasan to ‘behave’ himself.

“If that was the punishment I have to endure in order to get the desired effect, I think it’s worth it,” he said, amused by the irony of the situation.

‘Every cloud has a silver lining’

Last January, the powerful PAS disciplinary committee suspended Khalid as the party’s Shah Alam division head and political bureau member for vocal views and attacks on Hasan.

The committee decided to reprimand him not only for his public criticisms against Hasan but also for disclosing classified information in his blog, and breaching party directives.

Hasan, who called for a ban on the sale of beer in Muslim-majority areas, was accused of undermining the Pakatan Rakyat coalition.

He was also rapped on his knuckles for attacking the Select Committee on Competency, Accountability and Transparency (Selcat) and the appointment of Liow Siew Moi as the head of PKNS.

The harsh punishment on Khalid, a first-term MP, has gained him a reputation and wide media coverage from the local and international press.

“For all the wrong reasons, I guess,” he said, “But every cloud has a silver lining. I don’t know which one is bigger, the cloud or the silver lining.”

“Yes, I'm unable to chair a meeting (because of the suspensions), but I can still attend meetings as a MP and can still participate. I don’t think there is any real negative impact," he added.

Sixty police reports lodged

Not only did Khalid get into a broil with Hasan, the news about him locking horns with fellow Pakatan Rakyat leader PKR MP Zulkifli Noordin over the ‘Allah’ issue has also sparked controversy.

Zulkifli's strong views over the 'Allah' issue prompted him to lodge a police report against Khalid after the latter called for amendments to the Selangor religious enactment.

Thus far, Khalid said that he has not been hauled up by the police although there have been 60 police reports lodged against him by various Malay and Muslim-based NGOs on the matter.

He added that the issue has been resolved with the Sultan of Selangor and there was no reason for the police to take action against him.“The Sultan had requested that I seek an audience with him and bring along my proposals (on the religious enactment).

“So it would be odd for the Sultan to ask me to meet him and for the police to act in a contrary manner,” he said.

courtesy of FreeMalaysiaToday

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