TAIPING, 31 March 2009: The Bukit Gantang parliamentary by-election is not a referendum on the support for the Perak Barisan Nasional (BN) state government if the BN wins the seat, a PAS leader here said.
Perak PAS deputy commissioner Asmuni Awi said the by-election could only be regarded as a referendum if PAS won the seat.
“If the majority is high (in favour of PAS), how else can we describe it except to say that it is a referendum?” he told a news conference at PAS’ main operations centre in Air Kuning near here today.
He claimed that if the result favoured the BN, it could be due to the ruling coalition’s “underhand tactics.”
In any case, he said, the issue of recognising the Perak BN government did not arise at the moment as the matter was still pending in court.
PAS candidate, Datuk Seri Muhammad Nizar Jamaluddin was reported to have said that the Bukit Gantang by-election was a referendum for the people of Perak.
MCA president Datuk Seri Ong Tee Keat brushed aside the claim, saying the polls was to determine whether the people would want a leader who could offer strategies to face the economic slowdown or one who would only prolong the Perak political crisis.
The by-election is seeing a three-way contest between BN’s Ismail Saffian, 49, Mohammad Nizar, 52, and an independent candidate Kamarul Ramizu Idris, 42.
The by-election is held following the death of incumbent Member of Parliament Roslan Shaharum of PAS on 9 Feb due to a heart attack.
Roslan won the seat in the 12th general election last year, beating BN’s Datuk Seri Abdul Azim Mohd Zabidi and independent candidate M Mohganan with a 1,566-vote majority. — Bernama