Wednesday, March 12, 2008

:: New Selangor MB

Khalid to take oath as S'gor MB tomorrow
Ki Mae Heussner Mar 12, 08 6:51pm
PKR secretary-general and Ijok state assemblyperson Khalid Ibrahim will be sworn in as the new Selangor menteri besar tomorrow. The ceremony will take place at 2pm at Istana Bukit Kayangan, Shah Alam.He is then expected to name his exco members in the next few days.
While it has been known for some days now that Khalid will be the new menteri besar, the main problem faced by the PKR-DAP-PAS government-in-waiting has been the choice of the deputy menteri besar. It has been agreed that a DAP candidate will be nominated, but the party seems to be undecided on its nominee. At the same time, there is also interest, especially from the Selangor palace, in seeing the post also going to a Malay.
Earlier today, the Selangor Sultan's private secretary Mohamad Munir Bani said state laws stipulate that only a Malay Muslim can be appointed as the menteri besar. Similarly, he added, it is preferable that the deputy menteri besar should also be a Malay Muslim.
JAG supports Kok
While Khalid deliberates on whom to appoint as his deputy, a gender equality action group has called for the appointment of Teresa Kok, the Kinrara state assemblyperson and Seputeh member of parliament, to the post. Although she herself is reluctant to comment on the issue, speculation is rife that Kok is a strong contender. She was even called in for an audienc with the Sultan yesterday. The Joint Action Group for Gender Equality (JAG) today said that Kok's appointment to the post would signal a new "era of equality and non-discrimination" in the highly industrialised state. JAG cited Kok's experience and diplomacy in supporting her nomination, and also emphasised the need to increase women's participation in higher-level politics. "Apart from Teresa's undeniable knowledge, experience and boundless energy which by itself should be the basis of her appointment as (deputy mentri besar, her appointment would also make good some of the promises made by the component parties now forming the Selangor government," added JAG in a statement.
Other DAP frontrunners
JAG also called on the now-ruling parties to make good their 1999 endorsement of its 'Women's Agenda for Change' that included a 30 percent goal for women in key decision-making positions."Teresa's appointment will signal that the Selangor government is ready to embrace a new era [...] of equality and non-discrimination," said the group. If appointed, Kok would be Malaysia's first woman deputy mentri besar. In addition to being a state assemblyperson and MP, Kok is also expected to be a state exco member. When contacted, Kok refused to confirm if she had been selected by her party. Asked how she would balance four powerful positions, if appointed deputy MB, she referenced others who had juggled multiple responsibilities and said, "Why not?" Other names on the shortlist for the deputy's post from DAP are Ronnie Liu who won the Pandaraman state seat and Teng Chang Khim (Sungai Pinang). It is learnt that the party is still undecided on who to nominate despite intense discussions on the matter. The central leadership is believed to favour Kok.
Sultan’s constitutional role
Meanwhile, senior constitutional lawyer and former UN special rapporteur on the independence of judges and lawyers Param Cumaraswamy said the Sultan has no constitutional power to call for the deputy mentri besar to be a Malay. “With respect, His Highness should not be seen reading into the constitution what is not there,” he said in a statement today. While the Selangor constitution provides for the appointment of deputy mentri besar by the Sultan, yet such appointment is actually to be made on the advice of the mentri besar from among the members of the state executive council, said Param. After appointing the mentri besar, the Sultan will then appoint not more than 10 legislators from the state assembly, on the advice of the menteri besar, to the state executive council. “It is from among these 10 members of the executive council that the sultan will appoint a deputy mentri besar, again on the advice of the mentri besar,” he added.