KEPALA BATAS, 30 April 2009: PAS’s intention to field a candidate in the by-election for the Penanti state constituency on 31 May shows that the Parti Keadilan Rakyat (PKR) is not the most popular party in the area, said former prime minister Tun Abdullah Ahmad Badawi.
Abdullah said although the Penanti state constituency, located in the Permatang Pauh parliamentary constituency, was a PKR stronghold, it was obvious that there were voters who wanted the constituency to be represented by PAS.
“What is voiced by the Permatang Pauh PAS is the voice of the grassroots, and I believe that there are local residents who are inclined to choose a candidate representing a particular party,” he said here today.
He was commenting on the plan by PAS to field a candidate in the by-election for Penanti although PKR had announced its candidate.
On Tuesday, PKR adviser Datuk Seri Anwar Ibrahim had announced the Penang PKR deputy liaison chairperson, Mansor Othman, 56, as the party’s candidate for the by-election for the Penanti state seat.
The seat fell vacant following the resignation of the incumbent assemblyperson and former Penang Deputy Chief Minister (DCM)1, Mohammad Fairus Khairuddin.
Abdullah said the move by PAS to field its candidate also demonstrated that there was no consensus among the ruling coalition in Penang.
Yesterday, Penang PAS Youth head Mohd Hafiz Mohd Nordin said the party would go ahead with the plan to field its own candidate in the by-election for Penanti.
The Penanti state constituency has 15,384 registered voters comprising 72.68% Malay Malaysians, 24.22% Chinese Malaysians, 2.39% Indian Malaysians, and 0.71% others.
In KUALA LUMPUR, Jerlun Member of Parliament Datuk Mukhriz Tun Dr Mahathir said the dispute over a suitable candidate to contest in the Penanti by-election was merely a drama staged by the opposition.
He said such disputes usually occurred every time there was a by-election.
“In the initial stage, there will be news like this, as though there is a dispute among themselves. But eventually, before nomination day, there will be a consensus among them as though they [were] united on this matter.
“I think it’s all a drama,” he said. — Bernama