KUALA LUMPUR, Jan 19 — Tan Sri Khalid Ibrahim has cited “convenience” and practical considerations in the Selangor executive council reshuffle where the mentri besar now runs the Islamic affairs portfolio while Dr Ahmad Yunus Hairi from PAS was elevated over other party colleagues.
Dr Ahmad Yunus was sworn in yesterday to replace sacked PAS member Datuk Hasan Ali in the state executive council although it was widely believed the party state commissioner Dr Abd Rani Osman was touted for the job.
Hasan oversaw Islamic affairs and Malay customs prior to being axed from the Islamist party. Dr Ahmad Yunus retained the latter portfolio and has taken over the youth and sports portfolio.
“I did it for the convenience because I thought I should allow youth and sports to be handled by a young leader so he can concentrate on all the activities that we want to do.
“He’s new. I don’t think he will be able to cope with it (Islamic affairs), so I don’t think it’s fair,” Khalid (picture) told reporters in Kampung Baru here after meeting with residents.
The Bandar Tun Razak MP said it would be pointless to appoint someone who would “struggle to understand what’s going on”, and stressed that he had to focus on deliverables as elections were said to be around the corner.
He reiterated that it would be easier for him to administer the Islamic affairs portfolio as the state secretary, financial adviser and legal adviser were members of the Selangor Islamic Religious Department (Jais) and already reported directly to him as mentri besar.
“On balance, it looks like it’s reasonable that I should focus on the area that I can easily check and implement,” he said.
Khalid also revealed that contrary to earlier reports, PAS had submitted at least three candidates — Dr Ahmad Yunus, Dr Abd Rani and Shafie Abu Bakar — for consideration for the portfolio.
However, Khalid said the choice had to be more practical than political as it would have had an impact on his four-year administration.
“If you give me this period of time (before elections), these are the players or team that I can handle,” he said.
Umno-owned Utusan Malaysia reported yesterday that Dr Abd Rani faced difficulties in gaining the Selangor Sultan’s assent for his appointment due to his criticism of the need for state authorisation to teach Islam and the distribution of the Selangor Islamic Council’s (Mais) zakat aid to the Perlis government.
In Malaysia, those who wish to teach Islam must get authorisation or “tauliah” from the individual state authorities.
In yesterday’s portfolio reshuffle, Shafie, whom Dr Abd Rani had personally backed for the executive council post, was made chairman of the Selangor Malay Customs and Heritage Body Corporation (Padat).