When an election nears, any reasonable observer would assume that coalition partners would at least try to get on the same page, as difficult as this may seem at times.
Now granted, the latest Pakatan firestorm – as usual – involves Hasan Ali, who was ousted from PAS in January for not towing the party line and daring to urge supporters of de facto Opposition leader Anwar Ibrahim to avoid a rally as his Sodomy 2 verdict was being handed down.
Nevertheless, the damage he is inflicting on his former party and coalition is taking on monumental proportions – not only for the viciousness but also for the noise level.
The sad truth, however, is, that his former colleagues continue to provide him with ammunition, allowing Hasan to continue to shoot from the hip. Quite what PKR has to gain by attacking Hasan Ali, except to cover up its own inadequacies, is hard to see.
After PKR’s deputy president Azmin Ali’s last week alleged that Hasan spent RM 300,000 on his office renovations and RM 500,000 for organising a Selangor Malay Customs and Heritage Corp (Padat) conference when he was chairman of the state body, Hasan fired back, claiming that the renovation was for his staff of 19 people and the cost had been approved by the state treasury.
He also pointed fingers at Selangor financial officer Datuk Arif Abdul Rahman, alleging that he had been given RM 250,000 a year by state-owned firms to go on “overseas holidays” plus RM 100,000 a month to be a “silent director” on these companies.
And he attacked Azmin, alleging that Anwar’s deputy was attacking him to topple Selangor Chief Minister Tan Sri Khalid Ibrahim in an effort to “kill two birds with one stone.”
In light of Hasan’s grandiose political conspiracies, he regrettably neglected to answer Azmin’s allegations that he – as the exco for infrastructure and public amenities – had bypassed the state’s open tender policy for awarding road maintenance subcontracts.
The answer has now been provided by the Chief Minister himself, who announced during a state assembly sitting that Hasan Ali awarded contracts without open tender during his tenure. He also did not seek approval from the state treasury not to implement open tenders for road maintenance jobs.
“Hasan did not carry out his duties by not following protocols,” Khalid said, adding that Hasan did not seek approval from the state finance officer or himself.
Khalid also confirmed that Hasan spent RM 329,000 on office renovations, but followed procedures when doing so. Phew, what a relief that these exorbitant amounts were officially authorised.
Nevertheless, these clarifications do leave behind the bad taste of cronyism and wasteful spending practices, begging the question of oversight.
And why do these revelations only see the light of day now? If Hasan wouldn’t have been sacked, could he simply have continued his contract allocation and plush refurbishment unhindered? Would Khalid have stayed silent? This bit, frankly, we don’t get. An objective observer might think Khalid was making these disclosures about Hasan Ali to cover his own tracks, his own past louche administration.
In the wake of these disclosures, Anwar’s comments just the other day that “our leaders in PR, in Selangor, in our states are clean, not dirty, and our leaders are not plunderers” seems somehow incomplete, or inappropriate.
Anwar told Prime Minister Datuk Seri Najib Razak to keep his ‘hands-off’ in Selangor. But, frankly, a more ‘hands-on’ attitude is needed.
Hasan, meanwhile, will surely come out again in the next couple of days and hold a press conference to refute the allegations and go back into attack mode, throwing mud at his former peers in the process. And then there is the fanous solar-powered bibles video, coming up soon, thanks to Hasan Ali.
There really is no way to spin this story: the facts speak for themselves. PKR has decided to attack Hasan Ali, Khalid is jumping into the free-for-all, it is getting messier by the minute in Selangor, and in Selangor and elsewhere none of this does any good for PR.