“I did not ask him to resign, I just give him the advise. It is up to him. It is not his mistake, neither is mine. It is the State Legal Adviser’s fault”, Nik Aziz was heard saying through Astro Awani tonight. Let us read about the Almenantunya.

Ariffahmi Has To Be A Thing Of The PASt

By Joceline Tan, The Star

PAS leaders are upset that the Mentri Besar’s son-in-law is clinging to his post as PMBK CEO till next year because the issue is dragging down the party’s image.

DATUK Nik Aziz Nik Mat looked a little stunned when he arrived at the scene of Kota Baru’s latest disaster where a car had crashed through the ceiling of the state’s biggest shopping mall.

The vehicle had landed on the escalator below, killed two people and shocked everyone. It was a very sad and tragic incident, one of those one-in-a-million type of accidents.

The Kelantan Mentri Besar has been deluged with a host of issues the last few months chief of which has been the controversy over the appointment of his son-in-law Ariffahmi Abdul Rahman as CEO of Perbadanan Mentri Besar Kelantan (PMBK).

But even though the shopping mall tragedy has eclipsed the “son-in-law issue” as the talking point, people in PAS are still puzzled why Ariffahmi has yet to resign from the state agency which is chaired by his father-in-law.

They do not understand why Ariffahmi would want to stay on till March when Nik Aziz had asked him to quit more than a fortnight ago.

A measure of just how controversial Ariffahmi has become in PAS politics is that any mention of “menantu” or “son-in-law” in Kelan-tan is immediately associated to Ariffahmi, as it used to be associated with Khairy Jamaluddin when Tun Abdullah Ahmad Badawi was in power.

It has damaged Nik Aziz just as Khairy affected the image of his then Prime Minister father-in-law.

Each day finds new stories bubbling to the surface about why Ariffahmi has delayed his departure and they are nasty stories which no upright professional would want to be associated with.

“It is impossible that Tok Guru does not know what people are saying. He is not blind and he is certainly not stupid or else he would not have survived this long,” said Syed Azidi Syed Aziz, the former PMBK officer whose blog is being blamed for Ariffahmi’s downfall.

Regardless of whether these stories are true or untrue, it will only reinforce the public perception that Nik Aziz has been around so long that his large family are assuming that society is beholden to them.

For instance, an impassioned defence of Ariffahmi by his wife Nik Amalina, posted on the blog of a PAS politician, has been cited as proof that there is a “kitchen cabinet” in the Mentri Besar’s household.

Critics pointed out that administrative matters were being discussed around the family dinner table.

Instead of quickly quitting and making a fresh start elsewhere, Ariffahmi has been moving around trying to convince people that he is a victim of a conspiracy hatched by Syed Azidi and state exco member Datuk Husam Musa.

Said PAS vice-president Salahud-din Ayob: “I ran into him a few nights ago. He was upset that our party’s national leadership had not listened to his side of the story before we asked Tok Guru to let him (Ariffahmi) go.

“I told him we were not influenced by anyone or blogs. The situation in PMBK is a clear case of a conflict of interest because under the MACC Act, a son-in-law is considered a family member.

PAS MPs were among the most vocal when the MACC Bill was tabled in Parliament and some of them had used the controversy over Khairy’s role in Abdullah’s administration to insist that the Bill include sons and daughters-in-law in the definition of family. They feel deeply embarrassed and compromised now that the tables have been turned on them.

“It‘s awkward when things like this happen. It puts us between a rock and a hard place especially the way the media has exploited the issue. All I can say is that the sooner Ariffahmi goes, the faster our recovery will be,” said Kuala Selangor MP Dzulkifli Ahmad.

There was praise for Nik Aziz when he asked his son-in-law to resign from PMBK. He was seen as having the courage to make a painful decision.

But the goodwill has dipped with Ariffahmi delaying his departure. It looks like family ties are Nik Aziz’s Achilles Heel. There have been demonstrations in Kota Baru, some in support of Nik Aziz, others asking him to step down as Mentri Besar.

Nik Aziz and his loyalist Husam have tried to divert attention from the son-in-law issue by harping on the oil royalty issue. The elderly leader has been in a hurricane mood, furiously lashing out at obstacles in his way and even praying for the demise of opponents.

But it has been like trying to divert attention from the elephant in the room. PAS leaders are at a loss over how they can further drive home the conflict of interest to Nik Aziz.

The longer Ariffahmi plays out his swan song, the greater the damage on his father-in-law and the party.