Thursday, January 19, 2012

Ahmad Yunus replaces Hasan Ali


UNEXPECTED CHOICE: Ahmad Yunus taking his oath of office at Istana Bukit Kayangan yesterday. He will take charge of the Malay customs, youth and sports portfolio

In a somewhat surprising move, Sijangkang assemblyman Dr Ahmad Yunus Hairi was sworn in as Selangor executive councillor yesterday, replacing renegade former PAS chief Datuk Dr Hasan Ali.

Ahmad Yunus’ appointment also meant a restructuring of the state’s portfolio for administration.

Major aspects of the portfolio previously held by Hasan — Islamic affairs, infrastructure and public amenities — will now be taken over by Menteri Besar Tan Sri Abdul Khalid Ibrahim.

Ahmad Yunus, who was sworn in at Istana Bukit Kayangan yesterday, will only be looking after matters relating to Malay customs, youth and sports effective yesterday.

Abdul Khalid said, after the swearing-in, the restructuring of the portfolio was conducted to ensure a smooth administration.

“The state secretary and legal adviser are members of the Selangor Islamic Religious Council (MAIS) and Selangor Islamic Affairs Department (JAIS), so I can oversee the development of both agencies,” Abdul Khalid said.

Ahmad Yunus was among three candidates touted to replace Hasan. Meru assemblyman and PAS Selangor commissioner Dr Abdul Rani Osman was seen as the party’s “favourite” while the other was Bandar Baru Bangi assemblyman Dr Shafie Abu Bakar.

It was reported in a Malay daily that Abdul Rani’s nomination did not fall easy as Selangor ruler Sultan Sharafuddin Idris Shah was concerned about Abdul Rani being able to obtain state authorisation to teach Islam and his (Abdul Rani’s) criticism over the distribution of MAIS’s zakat to the Perlis government last November.

However, Abdul Rani is now chairman of the microcredit scheme for the rural poor (Skimsel) while Shafie is chairman of Selangor Malay Customs and Heritage Body Corporation (Padat) — both positions held previously by Hasan.

Abdul Khalid stressed the Selangor government had consulted and discussed with PAS over Ahmad Yunus’ appointment as state exco.

“It is not that we ignored PAS’s opinion. We referred to the party leadership and said, in the interest of the state and Pakatan Rakyat, a change is warranted.

“Ahmad Yunus’ appointment received blessings from both PAS leadership and Abdul Rani,” he said.

This brings to an end questions over the vacant state exco position after PAS booted out Hasan on Jan 8 for being an “antagonist” against the party’s stand.

However, the sacked former PAS Selangor commissioner remains Gombak Setia assemblyman.

Abdul Khalid said Hasan had written to his office notifying the MB that the appointment of the new exco was premature as he (Hasan) had a 30-day period to appeal to the PAS Religious Scholar Council (Majlis Syura PAS).

The period for appeal ends on Feb 7.

“I replied Hasan’s letter informing him that my decision to drop him from the exco is following the PAS central leadership committee’s decision to sack him at its Jan 8 meeting. The issue of appealing the decision was not mentioned in the letter,” Abdul Khalid said, adding that the appeal was a political practice but did not involve the state administration.

Ahmad Yunus expressed surprise over his appointment.

“The party leadership had endorsed Abdul Rani. To tell you the truth, I did not expect this (the appointment),” he said.

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