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Rumblings in Selangor PKR, Umno as DAP bent on 'rewarding' party duo with speaker and port chairman posts

They say the post-election climate poses a greater challenge amid the perception of non-Malay dominance represented by DAP.

3 minute read
Former DAP assemblymen Ean Yong Hian Wah (left) and Lau Weng San have been promised posts in exchange for not being nominated at the last polls.
Former DAP assemblymen Ean Yong Hian Wah (left) and Lau Weng San have been promised posts in exchange for not being nominated at the last polls.

Trouble is brewing within the new Selangor ruling bloc as DAP secretary-general Anthony Loke insists on going ahead with a plan to appoint one of the party's former assemblymen as chairman of the Klang Port Authority (LPK), the country's biggest port parked under his transport ministry, MalaysiaNow has learnt.

It is understood that Selangor Umno as well as at least three PKR assemblymen are against Loke's proposal to name former Seri Kembangan assemblyman Ean Yong Hian Wah as the port's chairman, citing that it would only exacerbate the state government's current deficit in Malay support.

"In terms of perception, especially seeing the results of the recent elections, this is not a good move," a Selangor Umno leader familiar with recent discussions told MalaysiaNow, requesting anonymity.

Ean Yong was appointed as the PKA chairman during the previous Pakatan Harapan (PH) government, where Loke was also the transport minister.

Following the PH government's collapse in 2020, Ean Yong was replaced by MCA secretary-general Chong Sin Woon.

Ean Yong came into prominence in 2009, when his political aide Teoh Beng Hock was found dead while in the custody of the Malaysian Anti-Corruption Commission. Teoh was arrested for questioning about the alleged abuse of state government funds in Ean Yong's Seri Kembangan constituency.

A PKR source said at least "three or four" assemblymen from the party were unhappy with Loke's open announcement to recommend Ean Yong for the post, saying it was designed to force Prime Minister Anwar Ibrahim's hand into agreeing to DAP's terms.

"Not only is it not proper to say it openly, it is also something that can be interpreted as abuse of power on the part of Loke since he is also the transport minister," she told MalaysiaNow.

It comes three weeks after Loke, when announcing DAP's candidate line-up for Selangor, proposed for Ean Yong to be appointed as the port's chairman – seen as a reward to him for vacating his seat.

Ean Yong was among the incumbents dropped from standing as candidates in the Selangor election on Aug 12, alongside Teng Chang Khim, V Ganabathirau, Lau Weng San, and Edry Faizal Eddy Yusof.

Edry Faizal Eddy Yusof.
Edry Faizal Eddy Yusof.

Besides announcing that he would recommend Ean Yong for LPK, Loke had also named Lau as DAP's nominee for the speaker's post as a form of compensation to the party for agreeing to make way for Umno in Dusun Tua.

Edry, the Dusun Tua incumbent who was one of only two DAP Malay assemblymen in Selangor, was, however, not recommended for any position to compensate for being dropped from the recent state polls.

Despite fitting DAP's criteria for fielding young candidates, the 38-year-old, who speaks fluent Chinese, also did not state why he had been dropped, merely saying in a video posting that it was God's plan.

Meanwhile, Teng, who turned 60 this year, had himself stated his intention to retire from politics, while Ganabatirau had already won the Klang federal seat in the November general election.

'Bad for optics'

A Selangor PKR source close to the central leadership said that with DAP already "almost dominating" the ruling bloc in Selangor, the party has no need to bolster its position by demanding more posts.

"It is bad for optics, especially when we are relentlessly trying to convince the Malay electorate that DAP would not have the upper hand in Selangor," it said, adding that Loke should go back to the drawing board.

"The post-election climate is different from the campaign season. He should think carefully about his two proposals to reward his party people."

The source added that the choice of Lau as the state speaker could also present further problems, recalling a statement he made in 2016 questioning Umno's support for empowering shariah courts in Selangor.

DAP won all of the 15 seats it contested in Selangor, becoming the biggest bloc within the PH-Umno alliance.

MalaysiaNow previously reported that despite retaining the state, the make-up of the state government might complicate efforts by PH-Umno to fight the perception that it came to power on the back of non-Malay support.

The jostle for positions in the 12 local councils in Selangor will also be watched, where ruling parties are often allocated posts as councillors.

With Umno in the picture, the party is likely to demand more representation in local councils, which could ruffle feathers among NGOs and activists who have blamed the party for past abuses.

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