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The problem of Hasan Ali (Updated 7.05pm)

Updated at 7.05pm on 25 Sept 2009

PETALING JAYA, 25 Sept 2009: Will the PAS leadership take action against the party’s Selangor commissioner Datuk Dr Hasan Ali for undermining Pakatan Rakyat (PR)?

Senior party leaders are unhappy with Hasan and Selangor PAS secretary Mohd Khairuddin Othman who backed his boss, Hasan, by saying that the party was ready to pull out of PR in Selangor if all its elected representatives agreed.

“The secretary had no right to say that. PAS has rules about such decisions and we are committed to staying in Pakatan. Even as the state commissioner, Hasan has no right to decide to pull out on his own,” party vice-president Salahuddin Ayub told The Nut Graph today.

Dr Dzulkefly Ahmad

PAS central committee member Dr Dzulkefly Ahmad said such statements should not be allowed at a time when PR was in the midst of becoming a formal coalition.

He also hinted that the next central working committee meeting could possibly decide on action against Hasan, who is an executive councillor in the Selangor government.

“He should not be allowed to repeatedly make comments that undermine Pakatan. He should also remember that he is state commissioner by appointment. He was not elected,” Dzulkefly told The Nut Graph in a phone interview today.

The latest of Hasan’s controversial statements was on the state government’s Select Committee on Competency, Accountability and Transparency (Selcat). Selcat has been questioning district officers about the spending of allocations by Barisan Nasional (BN) assemblypersons in two months just before the March 2008 general election.

While Hasan said he supported Selcat’s intentions, he publicly criticised the manner in which the questioning was conducted, suggesting that the district officers had been treated like schoolchildren. He also suggested that Selcat members should comprise non-politically aligned persons like retired judges.

Following criticism of Hasan by other PAS leaders and Pakatan Rakyat colleagues, Mohd Khairuddin issued a statement that Selangor PAS was ready to leave PR.

Mohd Khairuddin’s statement trigged the possibility of a hung assembly similar to Perak when three assemblypersons left PR to become BN-friendly independents.

PAS has eight state seats in Selangor, while Parti Keadilan Rakyat has 15 and DAP 13. BN has 20 seats and needs exactly eight more to have the 56-seat assembly hang.

Several attempts by The Nut Graph to contact Hasan proved futile.

Past confrontations

Hasan Ali (illustration by Lainie Yeoh)

Prior to this, Hasan has been in the spotlight for attempting to ban the sale of beer in Muslim-majority areas. He had also asked for fellow executive councillor Ronnie Liu‘s portfolio to be changed after accusing the DAP elected representative of interfering in a local council seizure of beer from a 24-hours convenience store in Shah Alam. However, a licence is not required for the sale of beer, unlike liquor.

The beer sales spat between Hasan and Liu ended with the state government deciding to let convenience stores in Shah Alam practice self-regulation. Soon after, however, Hasan said he wanted to empower mosque officials to arrest Muslims if they drank alcohol. Hasan was then summoned by the Sultan of Selangor to explain the matter but the outcome of that meeting is not known.

In all these actions, Hasan is seen as attempting to undermine the cohesiveness of the Selangor PR government, something Dzulkefly does not deny.

“You cannot avoid perceiving it that way, can you?” Dzulkefly said.

He also took Mohd Khairuddin to task for claiming that Selangor PAS was willing to leave the PR alliance.

Dzulkefly said he had received text messages from PAS members in Perak, who were concerned at the possible scenario of a hung assembly following Hasan’s defiance and Mohd Khairuddin’s statement.

“He has no authority to say that. He is only an office-bearer at the state level. They must realise that they are in government because they are in a coalition. They should know that PAS alone could not have won. We cannot betray the trust of the rest of the coalition.”

“We understand the anxiety. The central committee is united that something must be done.”

Separately, Selangor Menteri Besar Tan Sri Khalid Ibrahim in a press statement today said the issues Hasan raised about Selcat would be addressed internally in a meeting on Monday, 28 Sept 2009.

Khalid is calling Selcat, the executive councillors and the district officers involved in the Selcat inquiries to the meeting for all parties to raise their concerns.

“I believe the issue is merely one of miscommunication between the above parties and therefore will be addressed internally.

“I am also confident that all parties are professional enough to understand the scope of responsibility that each of them holds and that they are able to work as a team to ensure that the state operates efficiently and effectively,” he said.

Remember the unity talks?

Hasan has not always had a smooth working relationship with PKR and DAP colleagues over his Islamist stance.

Condemnation of him is the strongest this time around. Selcat chairperson and Selangor assembly Speaker Teng Chang Kim said Hasan was “the only problem” in PR Selangor government. DAP’s Klang Member of Parliament Charles Santiago called for Hasan’s removal as PAS state chief and executive councillor. DAP Jelutong MP Jeff Ooi also said Hasan should be given the sack lest he “help[s] Umno stage a Perak-like coup d’état”.

After the opposition won Selangor in the 2008 general election, Hasan had reportedly discussed the possibility of a pact with the BN’s Datuk Seri Dr Mohd Khir Toyo, the former Selangor menteri besar.

Salahuddin Ayub
Salahuddin (left)

Salahuddin does not deny this, but said that those “were just talks. It doesn’t mean he will join Umno”.

That incident was more than a year ago, and in the interim, Hasan’s other statements have spotlighted Selangor as the next PR state to fall into disarray after Perak. Interestingly, none of the more senior PAS leaders have publicly attempted to keep Hasan in line despite commitments to the national-level PR pact.

Bearing in mind that the top two PAS leaders were themselves supportive of unity talks with Umno, whatever reprimand Hasan receives, or not, will speak of the level of commitment to the PR pact.

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16 Responses to “The problem of Hasan Ali (Updated 7.05pm)”

  1. davis says:

    The people of Selangor rejected the BN on March 2008 because the BN government was seen as a corrupt one. Datuk Dr Hasan Ali was voted in because the people wanted a new government that is not corrupt.

    For the present PR government to win the next elections, its assemblypersons must be seen to be clean and to have taken all steps to wipe out corruption. Corruption, not beer, will be the deciding factor. Vigilance against corruption and wastefulness of resources is what we anak-anak Selangor want from the government.

  2. Dr Jafri says:

    The Pakatan Rakyat is just a masquerade, a threesome of convenience. PAS’s tolerance of the DAP’s anti-Islamic stance and PKR’s Islamic liberalism is about to end anytime now. Good riddance to bad company. There was never a clear acceptance to begin with.

  3. abdul halim says:

    PAS is the trojan horse of the BN, let them withdraw from PR. Never mind, let BN prove PAS is their ally; let us expose PAS. If PAS cannot be trusted in Selangor, how can we trust them at the national level? Better to expose them now rather than later.

  4. APAI JUGAH says:

    I respect YB Hassan on his stand on Islam. Keep it up, YB. Jangan tunduk pada DAP …

  5. k c low says:

    Hasan Ali and this other guy are trying to get back into Umno by creating all this fuss. Unfortunately the door of Umno is closed to them. PAS should drop these two unwanted chaps. They are a disgrace.

  6. karim tarmizi says:

    This simple issue of Hasan commenting on Selcat has been blown out of proportion. It is being made use of by the other Pakatan components (namely the DAP, and in a lesser way, by PKR politicians who are pro-DAP) in their long-term plans to exert ultimate control over the administration of the state of Selangor.

    What is so much negative or destructive about Hasan’s comments on Selcat proceedings? He was saying the way the proceedings were conducted was aimed at undermining the integrity of the state civil service, making some of the officers feel guilty for something they did in response to the requirements of the political masters.

    Are not civil servants to follow the instructions of the government of the day? Why should they be ridiculed and criticised and made fun of in public for doing their job? It is quite apparent that that was the intention of some of the DAP members.They are intelligent and knowledgable enough to ridicule and make use of Selcat as a vehicle.

    From day one, Selcat has been an embodiment of individuals who have an axe to grind against the previous administration … They are biased, prejudiced individuals who want to create unnecessary tension between the political masters and the civil servants. Their intention in the long run is to even change the civil service if they can.

    Therefore Hasan’s recommendation for a partial representation from the non-political bodies and institutions is a good one that will provide greater transparency and opinions other than from the DAP and PKR/PAS Aduns who have lost their way in enjoying the power they have today.

    Hasan may and will be a thorn in the flesh of the DAP. Because he has the guts to say what he needs to say. Be mindful that the minds of certain DAP Aduns also need a check and balance.

  7. Billy says:

    Fiddling around with the rakyat money is not something one can take lightly. For RM2,400, Teoh Beng Hock lost his life even as a witness. If the civil servants need to be grilled in public in the strongest terms, then so be it. The PR government must show they mean business: that corruption in the state cannot and will not be tolerated.

    To soft-pedal on this issue like what Hasan Ali suggested is to imply that corruption must be treated with a kid’s glove or just a smack on the wrist. In China, those involved in corruption will be shot, and the family to later receive a bill for the bullets used. In Islamic countries, thieves have their hands chopped off in the market square in the glaring eyes of everybody.

    Selcat is doing a fine job in trying to ascertain how huge sums of money could be spent within two months just before the March 2008 general election. I and every taxpayer in the state need to know.

  8. yong says:

    Come on PR, wake up! Maybe Hasan Ali is actually a turncoat, or maybe he is just trying to boost his image. Anyway, with him around, there will be plenty of trouble. Do you really need him?

  9. kalambong says:

    Poor Hasan Ali, wanting the MB post so much that he’s foaming at the mouth. Daydream, nightdream, everyday dream, yet still the seat is firmly occupied by Khalid. No wonder Hasan Ali is such a sourpuss. But then, he can always join Umno; for sure, they would welcome him with open arms, make him feel at home, and may even offer him a post or two.

    Why still stay in PAS, Hasan? Over there in Umno you would get a lot, over here in PAS you get nothing … Please remember Umno won’t keep their door [open] for you forever… they never do that for anyone, except for Mahathir.

  10. bungamelor says:

    Many [non-Malay and non-Muslim Malaysians] voted for PAS not for them to bring about Islamic rule and practice systematic discrimination (religious apartheid). Hasan Ali, from what has been written, was so eager to sell out his partners to be MB […]. That should have been enough to set him aside.

    Beer is not the issue. If PAS is is sincere in combatting alcholism, them go and ban the arak/Samsu – all that local potent stuff that actually destroys lives. Not beer lah.

    Another thing, I am just getting fed with PAS banning this, banning that, and […] PAS has become a “Banning Party”. Just imagine if it comes to power, we will have no say as they will just justify all the moribund action with religion. (And no one can say anything about that if they do – if it were a Muslim, they go to hell, if they were non-Muslim they will cry the non-Muslim has insulted Islam so hang them.) That’s where we are heading to. I dread that.

    We were blinded regarding which party to vote, as long as it was not BN. I don’t think non-Malay [Malaysians] will be that blind anymore. Vote anyone except BN and PAS.


  11. Mera Silu says:

    Go on Datuk Dr Hasan. At least you are a person with principles. In Islam kita diajar “jangan mendekati kejahatan”. So you were right not to allow beer to be sold in the Muslim majority areas. Well if they disagreed, at least you have done your part. Very soon, people could also buy pork and other non-halal things in Muslim-majority or even “all-Muslim” areas. The reason, you are given a choice not to purchase it. I respect you Dr Hasan. You did not ask the Chinese, Indian or other non-Muslim [Malaysians] not to drink beer or not to eat pork. I don’t understand their objection. So this is the concept and policy of the new PR government!

    Davis said corruption should be given higher priority than issues like beer. Yes, if you see the narrow aspect of the issues. As we need to inculcate the respect of the rules and regulation, more so related to the obligation in our own religion, then selling beer at outlets in the Muslim majority areas will become a big issue. This is just like allowing prostitutes to operate in your areas. For Chinese and other non-Muslim [Malaysians], this is probably part of their life-style and culture. For Muslims, they are prohibited and it is a big sin. So just like corruption, you should also be seen as clean from these practices. In conclusion, the Muslims should not be corrupted by these kinds of life style.

    Bravo Dr Hasan.

  12. Anonymous Coward says:

    I’m still sore over that whole “empowering imams with the power to arrest” bit. I mean, it’s a really slippery slope. What next, giving the power of arrest to schoolteachers to get boys who smoke in school? That power should only be in the hands of those approved by a central authority figure. That way, we can hold them accountable. Why is it so hard for Hasan Ali to accept this?

    We already have the impossibly incompetent Rela. Heck, our JAIS (I think?) authorities aren’t all that good either and aren’t trustworthy. There was at least one case of power abuse by them — denying an arrested woman to pee during a sting operation and then asking her to pose inappropriately for pictures.

    Look, I’m not saying that imams will definitely do these sort of things. But we shouldn’t allow the possibility to arise. Kalau ada pak lebai yang sanggup merogol anak sendiri, macam mana nak percaya kat semua yang sibuk panggil diri mereka sendiri beriman?

    As far as I’m concerned, Hasan Ali must answer at least these questions:

    1. Who do the mosque committee members answer to?
    2. If they are doing anything wrong, to whom do the public report them to?
    3. How will they be held liable if indeed they are proven to be abusing their authority?
    4. Will these members be trained? And by whom? Where will the funding for this traning come from?
    5. How will we identify them as members who are actually given the powers of arrest? Anyone can claim they’re from the mosque, you see.
    6. Those that get arrested, where will they be held? How will they be processed?
    7. If the person about to be arrested resists, what can the mosque committee members do?
    8. How long will those arrested be held in detention?

    If he can’t answer these questions or brush them aside as irrelevant, I’m sorry, but I can’t — in good conscience — support him.

  13. mae says:

    The people of Selangor rejected the BN on March 2008 because the BN government was seen as a corrupt one, but not to the extent of sidelining Islam or compromising Islam. If, in the process of eliminating corruption, Islam becomes the victim, then people in Selangor would not vote PR in the future.

  14. teh ewe leng says:

    Please get rid of Hasan Ali, or else it would affect the co-operation of the PR state government.

  15. Tabib says:

    I fail to understand the outcry and behaviour of other PR members towards Hasan. If we are living in a democracy, then it is his every right to voice his opinions. Verily, it is every right of others to criticise. But to ask him to be sackedand so forth is unacceptable . After all, I dont see him breaking any laws, and furthermore, there are no guiding principles, written or otherwise, that the PR been drawn up to date.

    What it says from this episode is that other PR members are no different from the BN. Or perhaps Malaysians [are] just like that.

  16. lilikindsli says:

    I want to say – thank you for this!

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