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With his men sidelined, Amirudin still not assured of MB post if PH-BN wins Selangor

Questions arise about the future of the Selangor menteri besar despite getting endorsement from his party boss.

Ahmad Mustakim Zulkifli
3 minute read
PKR deputy president Rafizi Ramli (left) is seen as calling the shots in Selangor, where Amirudin Shari is seeking a second term as menteri besar.
PKR deputy president Rafizi Ramli (left) is seen as calling the shots in Selangor, where Amirudin Shari is seeking a second term as menteri besar.

Amirudin Shari may not be assured of being returned as Selangor menteri besar despite being named by his party boss Anwar Ibrahim for the top post if Pakatan Harapan-Barisan Nasional (PH-BN) wins the coming polls.

There is also a worry within Amirudin's camp, seen as opposed to another faction controlled by PKR deputy president Rafizi Ramli, that the one-term menteri besar may suffer the same fate as former Johor menteri besar Hasni Mohammad, who was replaced by Onn Hafiz Ghazi after BN's victory despite being the party's poster boy during the Johor state election in 2022.

A party insider familiar with PKR's well-known politics of factions in Selangor said that only seven candidates from Amirudin's camp have been chosen to stand in the Aug 12 polls.

The rest of PKR's candidates, it is learnt, are said to be aligned with Rafizi.

The seven include Amirudin's political secretary Juwairiya Zulkifli who is standing in Hulu Kelang against Selangor Perikatan Nasional chairman Mohamed Azmin Ali, and Selat Kelang candidate Azmizam Zaman Huri.

PKR is fielding 20 candidates in Selangor, while Amanah and DAP are putting up nine and 15, respectively, all of whom will be contesting under the PH banner. Their ally BN, meanwhile, is fielding 12 candidates.

But there was a last-minute candidate replacement in Kota Damansara, with Selangor PKR Youth chief Muhammad Izuan Ahmad Kasim being fielded to contest there instead of the previously named Aidi Amin Yazid.

PH chairman Anwar Ibrahim said last-minute changes in candidates are normal.

Amirudin himself will be defending his Sungai Tua seat in a three-cornered fight.

The one-term menteri besar is widely viewed in PKR as a remnant of Azmin's camp, which left the party in droves in the wake of the collapse of the PH government in 2020.

With Azmin out of the picture, many see Rafizi as wielding more clout in PKR.

"In terms of hierarchy, Rafizi is far more senior than Amirudin, so it is no surprise that Rafizi's camp has more numbers and influence compared to Amirudin," said Kartini Aboo Talib, a political analyst from Universiti Kebangsaan Malaysia.

But Mazlan Ali of Universiti Teknologi Malaysia said that although there is a perception of certain factions within PKR, it will not affect the elections, adding that party members usually unite when elections are around the corner.

"It will have an impact on the party's selection. There may be someone challenging Rafizi as PKR's deputy president," he told MalaysiaNow.

Amirudin was sworn in as the menteri besar after his predecessor Azmin was moved to the federal Cabinet to become the minister of economic affairs in 2018.

PKR's choice of fielding Amirudin against Azmin in Gombak during the general election last year was therefore seen as a challenge by Anwar to test his loyalty.

Amirudin managed to defeat Azmin in a three-cornered fight, which also saw a large number of votes split by the BN candidate.

Since then, Amirudin has stepped up his attacks on his former mentor.

On July 19, Anwar openly endorsed Amirudin for the menteri besar's post.

Despite this, questions linger about Amirudin's fate, especially going by the experience in Johor in the aftermath of the state polls in March 2022.

Former Johor menteri besar Hasni Mohammad was replaced by Onn Hafiz Ghazi after BN's victory, despite leading the party's charge in the campaign.

Kartini said Amirudin now faces a huge challenge at the coming polls.

"There have been talks about misuse of power and corruption involving the Selangor menteri besar, and there is a possibility that Selangor will have a new menteri besar unless Amirudin secures a large majority," Kartini said, adding that ensuring victory in Selangor is crucial for PH.

"If they fail, there may be demands for changes and Cabinet reshuffling."