Updated 16 April 2009, 4.31pm
PETALING JAYA, 16 April 2009: Another by-election is in the offing after former Penang Deputy Chief Minister (DCM) 1 and Penanti assemblyperson Mohammad Fairus Khairuddin quit his seat today.
Fairus “This decision is the best for all parties,” Fairus said in a press statement issued through the Parti Keadilan Rakyat (PKR) information bureau.
His resignation as assemblyperson, effective today, follows his stepping down from the DCM 1 post on 8 April over his alleged non-performance in public office and corruption allegations. The Malaysian Anti-Corruption Commission (MACC) has completed investigations on his suspected links to illegal quarrying activities and may press charges soon.
Fairus, 33, said he decided to quit his seat in the interest of his party, PKR, and his Penanti constituents. He said he wanted to further his studies and spend more time with his family.
“This space will also allow me to focus on clearing my name from all the allegations that have been thrown against me.
“To voters and my Penanti constituents, I wish to record my thanks for their love and support while I was assembly[person].
“This decision is the best for all parties, for PKR, for the struggle, and for the leadership of Datuk Seri Anwar Ibrahim in enacting truth and justice,” Fairus said in his statement.
A by-election must be called within 60 days of the seat being vacated. This would be the sixth by-election since the March 2008 general election.
Last year, Fairus, then an unknown, beat the Barisan Nasional’s Datuk Abdul Jalil Abdul Majib by a 2,219 vote majority.
Penanti is one of three state seats within the Permatang Pauh parliamentary constituency, which is held by PKR de-facto leader Datuk Seri Anwar Ibrahim, after he contested there in a by-election on 26 Aug last year.
That Mohammad Fairus would quit his seat and force a by-election has been the subject of speculation for some time after delays by the DAP-led Penang state government in announcing a replacement for the DCM 1 post, which has been reserved for a PKR assemblyperson.
Penang Chief Minister Lim Guan Eng has said although it was his prerogative to appoint a new candidate, he would leave the decision to Anwar after sorting out internal issues within PKR.
There are two other possible candidates for DCM 1: state executive councillor and Batu Maung assemblyperson Abdul Malik Abdul Kassim, and Sungai Bakap assemblyperson Maktar Shapee. But Anwar’s indecisiveness in choosing between the two had led to talk of holding a by-election to choose a new candidate for the post.
Meanwhile, Fairus, in an exclusive interview carried in today’s edition of Nanyang Siang Pau, had threatened to expose the party and Penang’s state government’s secrets if PKR did not clear his name within the next two weeks.
He claimed that the secrets are related to the Pakatan Rakyat (PR)’s internal workings, “has far-reaching consequences”, and that was the reason no party action has been taken against him yet.
In addition, he said he was unhappy that the party leaders had defended attacks against Selangor executive councillor Elizabeth Wong and former Kedah executive council member V Arumugam, but not him.
“They are just exco members; I’m not just an exco, but a deputy chief minister as well, and yet they (PKR) didn’t help me out, because I was framed by my own party members!” said Fairus in the interview, which took place in Kuala Lumpur yesterday.
He also reiterated his claim that he is a victim of the party’s internal conspiracy: “I’m innocent! They know what I can still do! Don’t force me!”
Mohammad Fairus’ decision to resign has drawn immediate flak, with Kedah Gerakan Youth chief Tan Keng Liang calling the impending by-election in Penanti “a complete waste of taxpayers’ money and time”.
“The reasons given out by him [Mohammad Fairus] for his resignation, in particular to further his studies and to spend more time with his family, are totally unacceptable,” said Tan, who added that by-elections should only be held in the event an assemblyperson dies, or is ill, rendering him or her unfit to discharge duties.
“We hope that the Election Commission would look into this matter seriously and take the appropriate steps to propose amendments to existing laws so as to penalise such assembly[persons] in future,” he said in a statement.
Tan also hit out at PKR, saying the party should not field a candidate in the upcoming by-election, and should allow either a DAP or PAS candidate to stand instead.
In case Tan is too dense to know, there is already a penalty for resigning which is being barred from contesting for 5 years.
Gerakan in Penang only seems to be barking for the sake of politicking rather than being a constructive opposition. They still haven’t come to terms with their loss.
What Tan said was right … a complete waste of taxpayer money & time.
I think the penalty of not allowing the person who quits to contest for 5 years is not good at all. There should be more punishments such as a fine e.g. RM50,000 or more by the EC to cover part of the cost for the by-election. I think Tan should make clear what he means by “amendments to impose stiffer penalty”.
mmm….if PKR had some face (unless they are thick skinned), they should let DAP or PAS contest. All the PKR candidates either get into trouble or quit with stupid reasons.
Why there is no one criticizing Fairus’ resignation? Is it that whatever PKR do is right?
I voted for Pakatan Rakyat last general election…..and I am about to regret it. The candidates from PKR are almost all a letdown. Only those from DAP & PAS seem more credible.
To DSAI, please let DAP contest in Penanti.
PKR is a menace to politics in Malaysia. They only talk and an make empty promises. And now causing trouble in Penanti!
PKR, get better qualified persons next time. Most of the “rotten apples” are from PKR; no difference from Umno. Actually it is a blessing in disguise for PR that MACC is keeping a close eye on them,so to keep them in the clean at all times.Let MACC ignore the BN, next GE all the worms will crawl out from the BN closet.
Joshua Ong says
PKR should choose their candidate properly next time. I think PKR don’t have capable people within their party. If so, please let other capable people from Pakatan Rakyat contest in Penanti.
Nanyang’s report of the interview by Fairus — Nanyang is an MCA-controlled entitiy.
It’s their “cardinal” responsibility to report on this manner – as otherwise how can MCA show appreciation for the recent cabinet announcement which allowed their numbers to remain at the minister’s level and even increase at the deputy minister’s level.
Once such reports come out, the MACC will spring into action to further tighten their case files before sending it up.
It’s all in the master game plan.
But Pakatan is fast – it also has enough backup. Good for them. Lesson well learnt from the Perak fiasco.
DAP is working in Penang, PAS is sleeping in Penang, and PKR is playing around and causing damage in Penang.
Let us vote PKR out from Penang. Sorry la Guan Eng…your are working hard but Anwar is trouble here. So, unless they put DAP, I am giving my protest vote back to BN!
Have to agree with Tan from Gerakan.
Tan Chee Wah says
Yes, Mr Tan. Why the by-elections in Batang Ai? The ADUN was sick for months and unable to perform – yet he never resigned.
PKR tak ada beza dengan Umno….!
I would rather try a new rotten apple than familiar rotten apples that have been around for 52 years. Who knows, the new rotten apple might actually taste less sour than the old rotten apple?
Besides imposing stricter criteria on PKR’s candidate selection process, PKR has to get rid of double standards in handling its members’ issues.
Elizabeth Wong can be relieved from her pre-marital relationships while Fairus is condemned to hell for unproven corruption charges.
Fairus is still innocent until he is proven guilty in court while Eli Wong was proven guilty from the morality aspect.
Andrew I says
Those who truly do not wish for another by-election to be held can always opt out. If PKR’s candidate is the only contestant, he can be declared the winner, thus avoiding a by-election.
Quite simple, really.
Isn’t it unfair if the culprit PKR is given a walkover? They are the ones who wasted the people’s money at Penanti. PKR should not contest and let DAP contest this time!
PKR is always the cause of the problem in Pakatan Rakyat. I think DAP and PAS should teach PKR a lesson by not allowing PKR to contest places in which PKR’s assemblypersons quit. It is wasting PR’s time and resources!
The resignation by the PKR candidate (giving reasons for study and family) shows clear cut disrespect to the people at Penanti. I hope Pakatan Rakyat don’t allow a PKR candidate to stand at Penanti. Very shameful!
Kenny, are you a practising lawyer?
If yes, please check the legislation clearly.
Which part of the legislation says that an assemblyperson will barred from contesting five years if he resigns?
I suggest you go read the Election Offences Act 1954 and the Federal Constitution.
Resignation is not one of the offences provided for in the 5 years ban!