Saturday, March 15, 2008

Perlis MB confusion: Shahidan out, Md Isa in?

Perlis MB confusion: Shahidan out, Md Isa in?
Fauwaz Abdul Aziz | Mar 14, 08 3:10pm

Confusion reigns over the appointment of the new menteri besar for Perlis with the palace announcing one name while Prime Minister Abdullah Ahmad Badawi reveals another version.

Earlier today, it was reported that Shahidan Kassim had failed to retain the post which he has held since 1995.

Raja Perlis Syed Sirajuddin's private secretary Moh Adib Zakaria said that his highness had appointed Dr Md Isa Sabu as menteri besar instead.

Moh Adib said Article 39 (2) of the state constitution states that the Raja can appoint whoever he feels has the trust of the members to be menteri besar.

Md Isa is the state assemblyperson for Bintong.

Later, Prime Minister Abdullah Ahmad Badawi said he has given Shahidan his appointment letter.

"I gave the letter to Shahidan who is the Barisan Nasional (BN) Perlis liaison committee chairperson who won (in the elections).

"The letter has to be presented to his highness the Raja Perlis so that he (Shahidan) will be appointed menteri besar and form the state government," he was quoted as saying by Bernama.

Prior to the elections, Umno Perlis was embroiled in an internal squabble between factions led by Shahidan and, among others, Umno secretary-general Radzi Sheikh Ahmad over the choice of candidates.

Gathering in Putrajaya

This afternoon, backers of Shahidan had gathered at the Putra Mosque in the administrative capital of Putrajaya as a show of support.

The crowd of 100 consisted mostly of Perlis Umno Youth members as well as ‘supporters’ who looked no more than 18 years of age. They were said to have come from Kangar in two buses.

Shahidan was also present at the gathering - which was ostensibly to demonstrate Perlis Umno’s support for Prime Minister Abdullah Ahmad Badawi.

At the time of the gathering, it could not be ascertained if the former menteri besar knew he had been replaced.

Abdullah did not show up but BN deputy chairperson Najib Razak arrived at 1:30pm and immediately joined the Friday prayers together with Shahidan.

Letter from PM

Afterwards at about 2:15 pm, Shahidan was still speaking to reporters of the "letter" from Abdullah as the Barisan Nasional (BN) chairperson to the Perlis Sultan purportedly expressing his recommendation for Shahidan to be the Perlis MB.

"The MB has not been appointed yet, but I have the mandate from the BN chairperson, and I am the one heading the Perlis government," he said.

"If there is anybody else who has been appointed, then it means that the person is not from BN... If he is not in support of the (recommendation of) prime minister, then he is not BN.

"How can the person be from BN if the person does not support his (Abdullah’s) choice?" he said.

While the choice of MB is the prerogative of the Sultan, Shahidan said he will oppose whoever is appointed MB in his place.

"Whoever is swore in other than me, I am of the view he is not from BN, and I will oppose him," said Shahidan.

The Umno veteran also attributed the tussle over the post to "the work of hypocrites" and those who haboured "ill will" against him.

"They instigate people (against me), these people who are hypocrites. Do not go near hypocrites, because God will cast them to the depths of hell," he said.

'They like me'

Responding to questions about the reasons behind the gathering, Shahidan denied they were his group despite having earlier being seen issuing directions to them.

Asked about the many who were wearing tee-shirts with his face on them, Shahidan replied: "Depa syok dengan saya" (they really like me).

In a related development, Bernama said Md Isa has wide experience in administration, politics and education.

Dropped from the list of candidates in the 2004 general election, the 61-year-old former state executive councillor re-contested in Saturday’s polls and won the Bintong seat, beating a PAS candidate.

The former teacher who has been in active politics since the past 30 years, polled 4,882 votes to defeat PAS’ Mohd Anuar Tahir by a majority of 2,110 votes.

"His appointment today also put to rest the poser and days of uncertainties over who would be appointed to lead the state," stated the news agency.

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