Updated 2.50pm, 27 May 2009
BUKIT MERTAJAM, 27 May 2009: Former Parti Keadilan Rakyat (PKR) member Aminah Abdullah claims she quit the party and resorted to exposing its wrongdoings to the media because her complaints about abuses in the party leadership were ignored.
The former PKR Penang Wanita chief, who is now standing as an independent in the Penanti by-election, left the party acrimoniously in 2007. At a press conference today, she talked about her split with the party and why she intends to continue highlighting abuses within PKR.
“I had provided the facts to the party president (Datin Seri Wan Azizah Wan Ismail) and adviser (Datuk Seri Anwar Ibrahim), but no action was taken,” Aminah said when asked why she did not go the PKR’s disciplinary committee with her allegations when she was still a party member.
“There was hardly any follow up. In fact the Penang leadership went on to slander me with 11 baseless accusations,” she said, without elaborating on the accusations.
Aminah recently caused a stir when she accused PKR of trying to bribe her with offers of money and position to withdraw from the Penanti state by-election.
On 25 May, Aminah said she had an audio recording of the alleged bribery attempt made by two PKR representatives, who among other things, she claimed had offered her the position of Penang Deputy Chief Minister 1 and a local municipal council presidency.
Yesterday, the party acknowledged that two of its members had indeed met Aminah, but denied that there was any attempt made to bribe her.
The two — PKR supreme council member Cheah Kah Peng and Lim Eng Nam, who is the special officer for Penang state executive councilor Law Choo Kiang — claimed they had met her in their personal capacities.
The party has said that it plans to take legal action against Aminah over the allegations.
PKR has changed
When asked if her views on PKR had changed over the years, she said, “If PKR was still good, I would not have left.”
Aminah and her husband Mohd Rofi Osman, who was the party’s former Bukit Bendera division chief, both quit the party in 2007.
“The party has been derailed from its original struggle — do you hear party members shouting ‘Reformasi’ anymore?” she said, adding that the PKR of today is not the same as Parti Keadilan Nasional (PKN) of 1999.
PKN merged with a faction of Parti Rakyat Malaysia (PRM) in 2003 to form PKR. But Aminah claimed the new party had lost its focus.
“The young leaders in PKR do not seem to know the history of the party anymore, or don’t want to know.”
MACC taken statement
Aminah also said that the MACC had finally recorded her full statement in a three-hour meeting yesterday.
“I was interviewed by three officers from 8pm until midnight, and they said they were done with my statement for now,” she said.
Aminah also lodged a report with the Election Commission (EC) yesterday.
As for PKR’s threat to sue her, Aminah claimed that she had not received the legal notice issued by the party’s lawyers to her yesterday.
“If they want to sue me, they can go ahead. But I need to see the letter first and talk to my lawyers,” she said.
Asked how her campaign for the by-election was progressing, Aminah said she had found time to canvass for votes despite the recent distractions.
“People don’t mention the matter [her allegations against PKR] to me when I meet them, but quite a few have come up to congratulate me on what I’m doing,” she said.
In ALOR SETAR, EC chairperson Tan Sri Abdul Aziz Mohd Yusof said the EC would study the recording from a CD handed by Aminah.
“The EC will cooperate with the MACC which is also investigating the matter.
“If the PKR candidate is involved, we can disqualify his victory if he wins the by-election,” he told Bernama after visiting Percetakan Nasional Malaysia Berhad in Jalan Stesen here today.
Abdul Aziz said the EC would be fair and impartial in the investigation as it had to identify those, who were involved, and to determine whether the tapping was genuine.
“It is a painstaking job and will take time,” he added.
Meanwhile Bernama reports that Aminah has denied claims that she laid a trap for Cheah and Lim and had invited them over to her home to discuss offers to withdraw from the contest.
“Kak Min have cordial relations with both of them and they have always come for ‘makan’, receptions and hari raya at my house.
“But I did not invite them on May 13. Instead, one of them had contacted me, wanting to see me. No one from PKR contacted me after I left the party in 2007 except for the duo,” she told reporters while campaigning in Simpang Tiga Kubang Ulu here today.
The Penanti by-election is a four-way tussle with Aminah facing PKR’s Dr Mansor Othman, and independent candidates Nai Khan Ari Nai Keow and Kamarul Ramizu Idris. Polling day is on 31 May.
The by-election is being held following the resignation of incumbent assemblyperson and former deputy chief minister I Mohammad Fairus Khairuddin.
To be updated