The tussle for the post of Menteri Besar of Selangor between incumbent MB Khalid Ibrahim and Azmin Ali, Deputy President of PKR, was out in the open despite Azmin's denial at a press conference.
In terms of party hierarchy, Azmin is more senior as Deputy President of the party, but Khalid has the track record (he managed to withstand all the negative hype about water shortage and Talam thrown by BN); and support of the people of Selangor (as evidenced from the better performance of Pakatan Rakyat in gaining 8 extra state seats to make it 44 out of 56); as well as open endorsements from PAS and DAP (each party has 15 ADUNs, compared with only 14 from PKR).
Azmin has the open support from Pakatan advisor, Anwar Ibrahim. But then again, based on numbers alone, PKR has no authority over the choice of MB: PAS and DAP each has more ADUNs than PKR, and their combined total of 30 has a simple majority based on PR's 44.
PKR's strength lies in having 9 MPs, as compared with 4 MPs each from PAS and DAP. But these do not count when dealing with state matters, much like Pakatan having won 9 parliamentary seats out of 11 in Kuala Lumpur, but all important decisions have to be through the Ministry of Federal Territories controlled by BN.
A comparison of their performance at the GE:
P098 Gombak, Selangor 123,290
Azmin Ali 54,827
Raman Ismail 50,093
P124 Bandar Tun Razak, FT KL 90,993
Khalid Ibrahim 44,067
Tan Kok Eng 32,235
N019 Bukit Antarabangsa, Selangor 34,467
Azmin Ali 16,502
M Nadzim Ibrahim 12,458
N046 Pelabuhan Klang, Selangor 39,972
Khalid Ibrahim 18,591
Nasaruddin M Zin 15,597
Azmin Ali received a total of 71,329 votes (P 54,827 + N 16,502);
Khalid Ibrahim receive a total of 62,658 votes (P 44,067 + 18,591);
Azmin has 8,671 more votes than Khalid.
So far, Nathaniel Tan (who had dealings with the Selangor state government before) has written two letters to Malaysiakini in favour of Khalid Ibrahim, for his prudence in financial management regardless of political affiliation.
Based on news reports, the tussle over selection of candidates in Selangor: within PKR, between PKR and its allied partners, PAS and DAP; and even with PSM, gave the impression that Azmin had been rather uncompromising.
The two seats which Pakatan could have won, had there been no 3-cornered contests are:
N24 Semenyih, Selangor: Hamidi A. Hassan (PKR) obtained 13,471 votes, S. Arutchelvan (PSM) obtained 5,568 votes; their combined votes of 19,039 was more than BN-Umno's Johan Abdul Aziz's 17,616 by 1,423 votes.
It is anybody's guess what could have happened had there been a straight contest between two candidates. According to Dr. Wong Chin Huat, given a 3-corner contest, it is better to vote for the stronger candidate on the same side to increase his chance of winning. In this particular contest, he was partisan in siding Arutchelvan and described PKR's candidate as a spoiler.
In the case of N39 Kota Damansara, Selangor: Dr Mohd Nasir Hashim (PKR) obtained 14,860 votes and Ridzuan Ismail (PAS) obtained 7,312 votes; their combined votes of 22,172 was more than BN-Umno's Halimaton Saadiah Bohan's 16,387 by 5,785 votes!
Like most things in life, we could better decide if only we had the benefit of hindsight. Yet, I think the tussle for the MB post would have been messier had PKR won 16 seats in Selangor!