Updated 7:31pm, 20 April 2009
CYBERJAYA, 20 April 2009: Former prime minister Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad said today the Barisan Nasional’s (BN) decision on whether or not to contest in the Penanti by-election should not be based only on the chances of winning.
“It’s not a question of winning or losing, we are the underdog there but we cannot neglect our own supporters,” he said.
He said the BN also had to think about the trick the opposition was playing, which, according to him, was just trying to impress the people by showing how many times they could win by-elections.
He told reporters this at the event series, “Bridges-Dialogues Towards a Culture of Peace”, at the Multimedia University (MMU) here.
The event was also graced by Raja Muda of Perak Raja Dr Nazrin Shah as the honorary chairperson of Bridges (Malaysia), his wife Tuanku Zara Salim, and chairperson of the Advisory Board of the International Peace Foundation (IPF) Prince Alfred of Liechtenstein.
Present were founder and president of the Rainbow/Push Coalition Reverend Jesse Louise Jackson Sr as the keynote speaker, and MMU Chancellor Tun Dr Siti Hasmah Mohd Ali.
Mahathir was commenting on the vacancy for the seat after former Penang deputy chief minister I Mohammad Fairus Khairuddin announced his resignation as Penanti state assemblyperson on 16 April.
Prime Minister Datuk Seri Najib Razak had said that the BN might or might not contest the seat by-e lection, and would meet by the end of the month to discuss the matter.
Asked about Johor Baru Member of Parliament Datuk Shahrir Abdul Samad’s recommendation for a straight bridge, rather than a crooked bridge to link Johor and Singapore, Mahathir said it was probably a personal opinion.
“That’s Shahrir; Shahrir may be a Johorean but there are others in Johor, not Shahrir alone,” he said.
Meanwhile in PENANG, Gerakan deputy president Datuk Chang Ko Youn said the opposition is forcing by-elections on the people without sound reason because it wants to conceal the weaknesses of its leadership from the people.
He said the opposition also welcomed by-elections merely to prolong political issues, ride on the people’s sympathy to get elected, and disregard the good done by the Barisan Nasional (BN) government.
“I agree with the view of Prime Minister Datuk Seri Najib Razak on the possibility of (the BN) not contesting the upcoming state by-election in Penanti, Penang. The contest is more to suit their (opposition) political aims,” he told reporters after a visit to the Kampung Simee Old Folks Home, here.
Chang, who is also Perak Gerakan chairperson, said he was certain the opposition would continue to come up with various agendas to conceal their leadership weaknesses.
He said the opposition might even force two or three more by-elections because there are some among the opposition state assemblyperson who might resign.
Chang said he would agree to the BN staying away from the Penanti by-election.
“It is more important to focus our time on handling the economic and financial situation. Do not waste our time and resources merely on political agendas,” he said.
Chang said the opposition governments, including in Penang, claimed to run a transparent administration but so far the people did not know the reason why Mohammad Fairus resigned as the state assemblyperson for Penanti.
“Mohammad Fairus had only said he wanted to further his studies. This reflects on the weakness in the opposition politics and they should not always point a finger at the BN government,” he said. — Bernama