KUALA LUMPUR - Malaysia's opposition Parti Islam SeMalaysia (PAS) has finally agreed to a change of menteri besar in Selangor, but stopped short of endorsing opposition leader Anwar Ibrahim's plan to appoint his wife to lead the state government.
In a statement to the press on Sunday, PAS deputy president Mohamad Sabu said party leaders had agreed to nominate Parti Keadilan Rakyat (PKR) president Wan Azizah and PKR deputy president Azmin Ali for the post.
"PAS unanimously agrees to nominate two names - Dr Wan Azizah and Azmin Ali," he told a packed press conference after a 21/2 hour meeting of the party leadership on Sunday morning.
The decision is a blow to renegade Selangor Menteri Besar Abdul Khalid Ibrahim, who was sacked by PKR last week.
It comes after the Islamic party for weeks refused to endorse Datuk Seri Wan Azizah, and instead backed Tan Sri Khalid.
"The issue of Khalid does not arise as he has been sacked by PKR," Mr Mohamad said, after the highly anticipated meeting on Sunday.
Secretary-general Mustafa Ali told The Straits Times that Mr Azmin Ali was picked as the second name because after the president he was the most senior in the party. The PKR deputy president has long agitated for Mr Khalid's ouster.
The top Pakatan Rakyat leadership will now meet at 5pm before meeting the press on Sunday evening.
The two parties form the opposition Pakatan Rakyat coalition along with the Chinese-based Democratic Action Party, which had warned that the already rocky six-year pact could break up if PAS refused to agree to a change of chief minister, calling it the biggest challenge the alliance has faced so far.
Selangor has been thrown into turmoil in the past two weeks as Mr Khalid refused to heed an ultimatum from PKR to make way for Dr Wan Azizah.
Dr Wan Azizah on Thursday insisted Mr Khalid had lost the legitimacy to continue governing after he lost the support of the majority of the state assembly, claiming she had the support of 30 out of the 56 members of the house.
But despite their colleagues from PKR and DAP being sacked by Mr Khalid, PAS' state ministers have continued to serve under the embattled Menteri Besar.
PAS also decided today its state ministers will continue to remain in government until a transition to a new menteri besar is complete "to ensure the service to the people is not interrupted".