PENANTI, 24 May 2009: Parti Keadilan Rakyat (PKR) strategic director Tian Chua challenged the Penanti state by-election contenders accusing the party of bribing them to report to the Malaysian Anti-Corruption Commission (MACC) and Election Commission.
“When it comes to any wrongdoing on the part of Pakatan Rakyat (PR), I’m sure these two bodies will be very swift to investigate and act,” he said at a press conference.
When asked if he was referring specifically to allegations made by independent candidate Aminah Abdullah, Chua said, “This is a categorical denial, both to Aminah and to any future accuser.”
“We have started this campaign in a spirit of friendly competition, and I am just stating the ground rules for the campaign,” continued Chua, who is also the Batu Member of Parliament.
Aminah, who is also ex-PKR Wanita chief for Penang, claimed yesterday that certain PKR leaders had offered her money to withdraw from the contest.
She did not disclose details, however, and said she would reveal more at a press conference later.
Chua, however, said such allegations from independent candidates were nothing new.
“In the Bukit Selambau by-election, all of them claimed we were trying to sabotage them in one way or another,” he said.
Chua said such tactics were not in the interest of PKR, which would rather contest openly and win elections democratically.
“The phenomenon of so many independent candidates contesting is quite new, and it is a sort of de-politicisation strategy of the Barisan Nasional (BN),” he said.
He added that the BN knew its policies were no longer accepted by the rakyat, and therefore chose to “hide” behind independent candidates to discredit the PR.
Mansor’s campaign manifesto
The press conference also revealed PKR candidate Dr Mansor Othman’s campaign manifesto for the Penanti by-election.
His manifesto is to:
- Complement Chief Minister Lim Guan Eng in developing Penang;
- Empower the grassroots by upgrading mosque administration and village councils;
- Develop small business entrepreneurs through a special fund;
- Instill knowledge and human development among disadvantaged students;
- Set up a Penang State Islam Fund to develop wakaf land, zakat disbursement, and Muslim welfare homes; and
- Provide affordable homes or “condo rakyat”.
When asked if this manifesto was consistent with PR’s own manifesto during the March 2008 election on issues such as local council elections, Mansor said it was.
“For example, on the issue of local government elections, point number two on empowering the grassroots would educate mosque and village communities to democratically elect their leaders,” he said.
On his chances of winning, Mansor told reporters he did not want to be complacent.
PKR elections strategist Saifuddin Nasution said, “Yesterday, we’re in gear one of the campaign. Today we are shifting into gear two. By the third day, we hope to hit gear five.”
He said this was why PR’s top leaders and star MPs and state assemblypersons had agreed to show up in full force to support Mansor.
“Whether the BN contests or not, every by-election is important, and the PR’s solidarity is for all time,” he said.
“Even for the Manik Urai by-election, although that is a PAS stronghold, the PR leadership will show up,” he added.
The by-election is being held following the resignation of incumbent assemblyperson and former deputy chief minister I Mohammad Fairus Khairuddin, from PKR.
BN has decided not to contest in this by-election, which it deems is a “political game” by PKR.
The by-election will be a four-corner fight between PKR’s Mansor and independent candidates Aminah, manufacturing company manager Nai Khan Ari Nai Keow, and Parti Imam SeMalaysia’s Kamarul Ramizu Idris.