Naming her as the candidate for the post will solve many problems in Pakatan as well as secure the support of women voters.
In recent weeks it is clear that Selangor Menteri Besar Khalid Ibrahim is facing stiff internal pressure from PKR deputy president Azmin Ali’s camp when the latter’s supporters waged a war against Khalid’s private secretary Faekah Hussin through the Internet and social media.
Even though both Khalid and Azmin never publicly showed that they are at odds, the strained ties between the duo is an open secret.
About a year ago sources told FMT that there will be a major reshuffle in Selangor after the 13th general election. At that point of time it was said that PKR de facto leader, Anwar Ibrahim, planned to field Khalid only in a parliamentary seat (Bandar Tun Razak) and make him a Cabinet minister if Pakatan Rakyat marched into Putrajaya.
Meanwhile, Azmin will contest in his Bukit Antarabangsa state seat and eventually be made the new Selangor menteri besar.
However, recent developments in Selangor PKR, including the Faekah saga and few other internal crisis, requires Anwar to act on the issue carefully in order not to hurt both Khalid and Azmin respectively.
He needs to find a strong figure to unite Selangor PKR in order to hold the state with the help of PAS and DAP as well.
One such figure is his wife and PKR president Dr Wan Azizah Wan Ismail.
Wan Azizah has always been addressed as Kak Wan by PKR leaders and members even in the division and branch levels. That is the personal touch and closeness that Wan Azizah has with PKR grassroots members that not even Anwar has.
So speculation is rife that a few PKR division leaders in the state who are unhappy with both Khalid and Azmin are proposing that Wan Azizah contest in a Selangor state seat and eventually be made as the new menteri besar if Pakatan retains the state.
On July 15, Azmin was quoted by Sinar Harian as saying that Selangor PKR is willing to accept Wan Azizah if she decides to contest in a state seat in Selangor.
However, he said that she must first get the support of the PKR grassroots in the state.
Although a very democratic practice, it seems strange that a party president has to go through the state leadership and grassroots in order to secure a seat.
Imagine if Umno president Najib Tun Razak suddenly decides to contest in Negeri Sembilan and Menteri Besar Mohd Hasan says that he needs to seek the permission of his grassroots leaders first?
Yesterday, the speculation of Wan Azizah contesting in Selangor grew stronger when Kapar PKR publicly offered her to contest in the Sementa state seat.
The Sementa seat was won by Umno’s Abdul Rahman Palil uncontested during the 12th national polls when the PKR candidate failed to turn up on nomination day.
The pros and cons
Let’s start with the cons first.
If Wan Azizah contests in a state seat in Selangor, Umno may accuse PKR of practising cronyism and brand the party as a family party.
However, this strategy may not have much of an impact as by now the majority of Malaysians don’t see the Anwar and Wan Azizah combination as an element of cronyism even after their daughter Nurul Izzah was elected as the party’s vice-president.
Malaysians know why Wan Azizah is there and how the party was formed and under what scenario the party was established. Umno and several BN component parties too have the family connection in their leaderships at the national, state and division levels.
Malaysian are largely not bothered about who sits in the party but rather how the leaders run the state and country and how the people can benefit from the policymakers.
On the positive side the move to nominate Wan Azizah as Selangor menteri besar will trigger an excitement among Malaysians, especially the women not only in Selangor but also nationwide.
Wan Azizah and Pakatan will be making history as she will be the first woman menteri besar should Pakatan win back the state.
It will also boost the support of women for Pakatan as internal surveys have shown that the opposition lacks the support of this gender.
Don’t be surprised if even Umno is forced to nominate a woman for the post should Pakatan name Wan Azizah.