Khalid Samad, the MP for Shah Alam, had a bad throat and was sucking lozenges. He had been barn-storming the ceramah trail, countering criticism from his one-time Pas ally, Hasan Ali, that there was a “parasite” group within the party.
His hoarse voice last night did not stop him from addressing about 80 villagers in a little kampung in Tasik Gelugor and later a few hundred others gathered at the PKR office bungalow in Tasik Gelugor town.
Wearing a black haj cap, Khalid denied he was such a parasite in the party. “As far as I know, a parasite is one that feeds on a mature organism, like a plant on an older tree,” he said. “I joined Pas in 1983 and Hasan Ali joined in 1998. How then can I be a parasite when I have been around longer?”
In fact, Khalid said he supported and welcomed Hasan when he entered the party.
But the bad blood began to surface when the 2008 election results started trickling in.
Although the non-BN candidates were waiting for the results to be released in dribs and drabs until 5.00am (on 9 March), Umno already knew they had lost Selangor by 8.00pm the previous night, recalled Khalid. That night, Hasan was in discussions with the Umno people for a possible alliance, alleged Khalid.
Matters came to a head when a meeting was arranged between Abdullah Badawi and Khir Toyo from the BN and Hasan and Pas president Hadi Awang, three days later.
Umno members, alleged Khalid, were touting Hasan as the next MB of Selangor, fuelling his ambitions – provided he could get Pas to join forces with the BN in Selangor in a coalition state government.
The Selangor state election results (seats):
PKR – 15
Pas – 8
DAP – 13
(Pakatan – 36)
Umno/BN – 20
Total – 56 seats
So you can see, Umno needed Pas’ eight seats to tie the Selangor State Assembly at 28-28, explained Khalid.
Just before the Umno-Pas meeting, when Khalid suspected something was up, he confronted Hasan angrily and asked him where he was going.
As Khalid recalled, Hasan was taken aback by the rebuke and vague in his response. “Even my father never spoke to me like that,” Hasan said.
“Well, this is not your father’s party either!” retorted Khalid.
When Pas leaders got wind of the meeting, they intervened but decided to go ahead with the meeting with the BN as Badawi and Khir Toyo were already waiting. But changes were made to the composition of the Pas team: it was hastily decided that Pas sec-gen Mustafa Ali would represent Hadi while Khalid Samad and Nasha would accompany him.
The secret meeting was held at a bungalow behind Parliament.
“Khir Toyo was standing around, looking as if he was the waiter, and he even poured me drinks,” Khalid told the amused villagers.
Toyo, he observed, looked pale and not his usual self. “Maklumlah, sudah hilang kerajaan negeri Selangor,” Khalid recounted.
At the meeting, it was pointed out that the new Selangor government lacked a Malay-Muslim majority among its ranks. With PKR’s eight Malay-Muslim members (out of its 15 winning candidates) and Pas’ eight candidates, a Pakatan government in Selangor would have only 16 Malay-Muslims within its ranks of 36 winning candidates, the BN side told the Pas team.
Abdullah then asked if Pas’ eight assembly members could join forces with them (and form a Malay-Muslim dominated state government).
Khalid countered with a deal crusher: “(If you are so concerned), why don’t you give us five of your Umno assembly members instead of expecting eight of us to cross over to your side?”
That effectively ended the meeting. And the bad blood between Hasan and Khalid boiled over soon after.
“What was on the cards amounted to a betrayal of the rakyat’s wish, which was for Umno/BN to be ousted from Selangor,” Khalid would observe later.
Five months after that meeting, Hasan sacked Khalid Samad as Selangor Pas deputy commissioner and summarily dismissed Saari Sungib as Selangor Pas information chief when the latter tried to chime in, according to Pas sources.
Meanwhile, Selangor MB Khalid Ibrahim tried to placate the ambitious Hasan by offering him senior positions and portfolios in the Selangor state government.
But the Shah Alam MP said a frustrated Hasan started pitting (“memperlaga-lagakan”) Pas against DAP over a number of controversial issues in Selangor that hit the headlines.
Unfortunately for Hasan, his star in the party began to fade. The motivational expert had secured the fourth highest number of votes in elections for the party’s central committee in 2009. But in the 2011 party polls, he could only muster 16th place among central committee candidates.
After the 2011 polls, he was not chosen as the Selangor Pas commissioner.
The last straw came when Hasan’s own party division in Sri Gombak did not select him as their candidate for the coming election, said Khalid.
The writing was on the wall for Hasan, who these days has been going all out in his campaign against Pas.
Later last night, one Pas official told me he was concerned about the party’s prospects in Kedah and feared they could lose the state. Kedah has a problem: not enough state government revenue to see to the people’s needs.
But he thought Pas stands a good chance in Terengganu as the party has a dynamic team there. Moreover, the people in the state are still poor despite the state’s oil wealth. Selangor, he felt, was 50-50.