BUKIT MERTAJAM, 23 March 2009: Penang Chief Minister Lim Guan Eng has dismissed speculation that the state will be facing another by-election following the resignation of Deputy Chief Minister I Mohammad Fairus Khairuddin.
He said the state government, however, must be prepared for any eventuality, but at the moment there was no reason for another by-election in Penang.
“I have said that we have to prepare for every eventuality, but I’m not saying it for you all (reporters) to speculate,” he told reporters after officiating at the opening of the E-Galv Steel Industry Sdn Bhd factory, here, today.
He said the state government was working on the basis that there was DCM I on 19 and 20 March until the state government received Mohammad Fairus’ letter on Saturday, saying that he would resign from his post as DCM I.
“We respect his decision and will allow him to announce his reasons but for now, let us deal with the situation as it happens.”
He said the state government was still running as usual. “The Chief Minister is still here, right?” he said in jest.
However, Lim said he would not comment on the claim (of conspiracy) made by his deputy because it was a PKR domestic matter.
On 21 March, Lim announced that Mohammad Fairus would resign as DCM I and state executive councillor effective 8 April, but would remain as state assemblyperson for Penanti and as a PKR member.
On another note, Lim who is also DAP secretary-general, said that despite newspaper speculation that the Barisan Nasional would win in the Bukit Gantang, Bukit Selambau and Batang Ai by-elections, Pakatan Rakyat (PR) must be prepared for any obstacle thrown at them.
“In by-elections, victory is always with the ruling party. So, the coming by-elections will not be easy for us but we will try our best to win,” he said.
Lim lamented that there were not enough resources to help all the three PR candidates in their campaigns since the three by-elections would be held at the same time.
With regard to the Batang Ai by-election, Lim said he had called on Sarawak DAP to mobilise all available manpower to help PKR gain a surprise victory.
Earlier today, PKR de facto leader Datuk Seri Anwar Ibrahim named former Lubok Antu member of parliament (MP) Jawah Gerang, 55, as candidate for the 7 April Batang Ai by-election. — Bernama