Thursday, 23 April 2009

Penanti: PAS wants to contest in by-election

Malaysiakini reported that all 115 delegates of the Pas Permatang Pauh division unanimously passed a resolution last week urging the party to contest in the forthcoming by-election.

Mohammad Fairus Khairuddin of Parti Keadilan Rakyat (PKR) won the Penanti seat in the last general election but resigned as its state assemblyman last week on personal grounds.

Permatang Pauh PAS division head Omar Hassan told Malaysiakini Wednesday that the decision of the party members has been communicated to PAS president Abdul Hadi Awang in Kuala Lumpur.

And the reason for wanting to contest was the manner in which PKR compelled Mohammad Fairus to resign, according to Omar.

The former Penang deputy chief minister (1) was under investigation by the Malaysian Anti-Corruption Commission (MACC) for alleged abuse of power. (But according to Fairuz the MACC has since cleared him of any wrongdoings. Read here)

"Such a resignation should not have taken place. There are grassroots members who are suspicious about the sequence of events, especially among the fencesitters who support us.

"In any organisation, the individual is the responsibility of the party. When there are problems with an assemblyperson, party leaders must solve it," said Omar.

"Fairus had not been charged with any offences yet, so he should be able to retain his position as an assemblyperson.

"PKR should solve problems within the party, and not compel anyone to resign.

“We now risk losing the confidence of the people and our grassroots supporters. Hence, PAS is stepping in as a contender for the by-election to alleviate the situation," he said.

Omar hopes the party president would consider the motion.

"We shall see. We do not want to make hasty decisions," he said, adding that the delegates wanted very much to have their own candidate for the by-election.

PAS leaders are not expected to fight for the seat with PKR despite the strong request by the Permatang Pauh PAS division.

However such a decision by PAS leaders may result in local PAS supporters deciding to boycott the contest, depriving PKR not just voters but also election machinery.

The Election Commission will announce the by-election date on Monday.

Barisan Nasional is contemplating in not contesting the seat on the ground that the opposition was calling for by-elections for petty reasons.

However, the decision is not final.

But even if Barisan Nasional decides not to contest, PKR will not have a walkover.

This is because PKR's former Penang Wanita PKR chief Aminah Abdullah has declared that she will contest the state seat as an independent.

She said that she decided to contest for the sake of justice and fairness for the people.

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