PUTRAJAYA, 19 May 2009: The Barisan Nasional (BN) supreme council’s decision not to contest the Penanti state by-election in Penang is an appropriate move as it has to concentrate on managing the country and the economy, several leaders said today.
Umno vice-president Datuk Seri Mohd Shafie Apdal said the decision would enable the BN to concentrate on the country’s administration and taking care of the people’s well-being amid the global economic gloom.
Shafie, who is Rural and Regional Development Minister, said the government would not be able to concentrate on its duties if it was too preoccupied with by-elections planned by the opposition.
“We want to run the country efficiently… we cannot be facing elections every now and then. We should focus our attention on the people.
“There is nothing that the opposition can do for the people, they can’t build roads, provide scholarships or build houses; they thrive only on creating issues.
“It’s not that we cannot contest. The issue is: what are the justifications for contesting in this by-election?” he told reporters after presenting excellent service awards for staff of the ministry here.
Yesterday, Prime Minister Datuk Seri Najib Tun Razak, who is BN chairperson, announced that the BN would not field a candidate in the by-election on 31 May, which is held following the resignation of incumbent assemblyperson Mohammad Fairus Khairuddin of Parti Keadilan Rakyat.
In KOTA KINABALU, Umno Youth chief Khairy Jamaluddin said the BN had taken an honourable decision.
Refuting claims that the BN was scared to lose; Khairy said the decision was to safeguard democracy from being made a mockery of.
“I therefore feel it is more dignified if we don’t contest. We are not scared.
“I believe that if the by-election is really necessary, it won’t be a problem for us to contest,” he said after meeting the state Umno Youth here today.
Wanita Umno chief Datuk Seri Shahrizat Abdul Jalil also supported the BN’s decision, saying the by-election was a political ploy by PKR to solve its leadership crisis.
It would also create unnecessary disturbance to the people’s lives, she said.
“The Penanti by-election is not necessitated by any requirement under the law such as the death of the incumbent or that the incumbent had lost his eligibility due to bankruptcy or change in citizenship,” she told reporters after opening the Childline Malaysia stakeholders meeting in Shah Alam today.
In NEGERI SEMBILAN, Menteri Besar Datuk Seri Mohamad Hasan said all elected representative should realise that they should work for the people once elected.
“They pledged to work for the people but now they relinquished their seats. This is an abuse to the country’s democratic system,” he said.
He said that there could be many other by-elections being planned by the opposition.
“I hope the people in Penanti won’t feel that we are neglecting them. Far from that. The BN will continue to look after their welfare,” he said.
In PENANG, Chief Minister Lim Guan Eng welcomed BN’s decision, saying this was not the first time the coalition had skipped a by-election, having done so in Menglembu in 1975.
“Datuk Seri Najib Razak is doing what his father (Tun Abdul Razak Hussein) did in Menglembu,” he told reporters in Penang.
PKR is fielding deputy Penang liaison chief Mansor Othman, 56.
Others who have made known the intention to contest in the by-election are former Penang Parti Keadilan Nasional Wanita chief Aminah Abdullah and businessperson Mohd Saberi Othman. — Bernama