Corrected at 3.35pm, 25 May 2009
BUKIT MERTAJAM, 25 May 2009: Independent candidate for the Penanti by-election, Aminah Abdullah, today alleged that two Parti Keadilan Rakyat (PKR) leaders met her on 13 May and offered her money.
“They said if I win the contest, I could rejoin the party and I would be given the Deputy Chief Minister 1 post,” she claimed at a press conference at her operations centre here.
She also offered as proof a CD with an audio recording of the conversation with the two leaders allegedly attempting to bribe her and lodged a report about the matter at the Central Seberang Perai District Police headquarters after the press conference.
(Corrected) According to the former Penang PKR Wanita chief, the PKR leaders, whom she declined to name, also offered her the post of local council president if she decided to withdraw from the contest.
She also alleged that they also offered to compensate her for her campaign expenses, amounting to more than RM80,000.
Aminah, however, said she refused the offers and added that she stood by her resignation from PKR in 2007 “on principle”.
When pressed on the identities of the PKR leaders, Aminah said one was a “special assistant to a Penang PKR exco” and the other was “a top state-level PKR leader who is a party supreme council member”, and added that both had the “blessings of the national party leadership”.
“We made an audio recording of this meeting in my house in Jelutong without their knowledge, and my family members also took pictures with their mobile telephones,” she claimed.
Aminah showed the CD of the alleged audio recording to reporters and said it contained more than three hours of conversation on the offers, and also of the two leaders confiding in her about PKR’s internal problems.
“On the CD, you can hear them say (PKR candidate Dr) Mansor (Othman) is not popular with the voters, and that’s why they wanted me to rejoin the party whether I win or lose,” she said.
Aminah did not make copies of the CD, but she allowed reporters to download the recording onto their laptops and thumb drives.
She also claimed that the PKR leaders had phoned her several times, and also had other meetings with her, but this was the most complete recording she had made.
She said she would be bringing the CD to make an official report to the Election Commission (EC) tomorrow morning.
When asked why she was not reporting the matter to the Malaysian Anti-Corruption Commission (MACC), she said, “We will let the EC investigate and cooperate with the MACC first.”
When asked why she did not bring this up during the objection period on nomination day, Aminah said, “It’s better to reveal this now with all the media present. Plus I did not want my victory to be a free lunch.”
Aminah also said she would be asking the police to protect her and her family’s safety, as she felt that she was in danger by exposing this matter.
Claims not verified
At a separate press conference, PKR elections campaign director Saifuddin Nasution said the party would not comment on unverified claims.
“When she produces proof, we will respond accordingly. For now, we will issue her a notice demanding that she either withdraws her allegations and apologises or pays damages,” he said.
“These are standard demands — we will leave the details to our party lawyer (and vice-president) R Sivarasa,” he continued.
Meanwhile, Saifuddin said that the party would not be distracted by such claims by other candidates.
“Our focus is to meet as many voters in Penanti as possible,” he said.
Polling day for the Penanti by-election is set for 31 May.
Other than Aminah and Mansor, the other candidates vying for the state seat are independents Nai Khan Ari Nai Keow and Kamarul Ramizu Idris.
The by-election is being held following the resignation of incumbent assemblyperson and former Deputy Chief Minister I Mohammad Fairus Khairuddin.