ANALYSIS: When a leader behaves strangely, it’s a sure sign that he is under pressure. Selangor Menteri Besar Tan Sri Khalid Ibrahim surely fits the mould now.
He had been publicly reprimanded by PKR supremo Datuk Seri Anwar Ibrahim twice in two months for his “stinginess”.
The first rebuke, made at a public forum in Petaling Jaya, was the more polite of the two, with Anwar saying that Khalid had failed to use Selangor’s surplus funds to help the needy. (Khalid always takes pride in the fact that Selangor has accumulated reserves of RM2.73 billion since Pakatan Rakyat took over in 2008.)
The second reprimand was more blunt. Anwar said Pakatan’s achievements could not be measured just in terms of surplus or deficit in the budget and that it should prioritise the people’s needs.
“Khalid is one of the most loyal and attentive friends and colleagues compared to other PKR leaders. However, there are times when he is among the slowest leaders to take action,” he said.
“I admonish a leader for a reason; I point out mistakes and errors so that he will tighten the loose screws,” Anwar said when closing PKR’s special national congress in Shah Alam on Nov 24.
Khalid had also been harassed and confronted by fellow lawmakers from Pakatan over his reluctance to release funds for development.
But nothing seemed to move, until Khalid himself tabled a budget of RM1.85 billion for 2014, the state’s biggest ever, on Nov 19. That somewhat pacified his detractors and Khalid appeared to be sailing out of troubled waters.
But why did Anwar criticise him at the party’s congress, just days after Khalid had tabled the record budget for the state despite his parsimonious style of management?
The talk in PKR circles is that Anwar has had enough of Khalid because he has been ignoring Anwar and Pakatan lawmakers too often. And Khalid has certainly shot himself in the foot with his announcement of the hefty salary hikes for the Selangor menteri besar, executive council members, Speaker, Deputy Speaker and state assemblymen.