By Yow Hong Chieh
KUALA LUMPUR, March 1 — Embattled Kedah Mentri Besar Datuk Seri Azizan Abdul Razak will be ousted before the next general election by members of his own PAS, Utusan Malaysia reported today.
The Malay-language daily, quoting PAS sources, said the move to depose Azizan will be led by Kedah party members unhappy with his decision last week not to reinstate two state executive councillors.
Another source told the Umno-owned paper that the faction had called on the PAS central leadership to send Azizan on leave and not to reinstate him should Pakatan Rakyat (PR) retain the state.
“They are bent on taking Azizan down as mentri besar. Some, in fact, are aiming to end his political career in the coming general election.
“They claim Azizan is no longer fit to head Kedah PAS as he never listens to advice from his excos and the state party leadership,” the source said.
Azizan had earlier excluded party rivals Datuk Phahrolrazi Mohd Zawawi and Dr Ismail Salleh — both of whom have sought his removal — in his new state exco line-up.
Phahrolrazi and Ismail, who are Kedah PAS deputy commissioner I and II respectively, later declined to accept their reappointments on the grounds that they could no longer work with the mentri besar.
Only eight of the 10 incumbent state excos took the oath of office for a new term on Tuesday at Istana Anak Bukit in Alor Star, leaving two vacant spots in Azizan’s administration.
Utusan Malaysia also said today that Azizan’s position remained “critical” in view of the special meeting PAS central leadership will hold tomorrow to discuss the Kedah crisis.
“Word has it the ulama faction in Kedah PAS does not support [Azizan], while the state PAS Youth has not shown any indication of who they will support.
“And this doesn’t include those within the PAS central leadership who don’t feel comfortable with him,” a source pointed out.
The source added that efforts to oust the mentri besar were backed by Datuk Seri Anwar Ibrahim’s supporters, incensed that Azizan had declined to meet with the opposition leader during the crisis.