BUKIT MERTAJAM, 28 May 2009: Parti Keadilan Rakyat (PKR) elections director Saifuddin Nasution has confirmed that Mohammad Fairus Khairuddin, the former Penanti assemblyperson who is also former Penang Deputy Chief Minister 1, has yet to appear in the party’s current by-election campaign.
“We are happy if Fairus can show up to support us, but if he is unavailable we will carry on with our campaign activities as planned,” Saifuddin said at a press conference today.
Saifuddin confirmed that Fairus was currently overseas, but the party was still in communication with him.
“When PKR contests in elections, we welcome all of our leaders to show their support, because all of them are assets to the party,” he said.
Saifuddin denied that Fairus’s absence was a deliberate attempt by PKR to exclude him for fear that he would damage the party’s chances of victory.
“There have been absolutely no instructions to Fairus not to campaign in this current by-election,” he said.
When asked if Fairus was staying away because of his alleged unpopularity among locals, Saifuddin said, “That’s just human. There will be people who like you and people who dislike you.”
The by-election is being held following Fairus’s resignation, who initially faced corruption charges but was subsequently cleared by the Malaysian Anti-Corruption Commission.
Earlier in the press conference, PKR candidate Dr Mansor Othman unveiled his 11-point charter.
Among others, Dr Mansor pledged to set up a one-stop service center within 48 hours if he was elected and a 24-hour telephone and e-mail hotline for the constituency. He also promised to prioritise programs to aid single mothers, orphans, the disabled, and senior citizens. Additionally, he said he would work on empowering local opinion leaders, focusing on imams, mosque committees, village leaders, and also leaders from other religious communities.
When asked how he could assure the rakyat of his accountability in carrying out these projects, Mansor said all his pledges were “measurable and doable”.
“For example, to assist single parents, we can firstly set up a database of single parents in Penanti, and hence we can target our programs to suit their needs,” he said.
Saifuddin and Mansor holding charter
He said that the programs’ output would be guided by specific key performance indices that he would develop with the party’s support.
On how Mansor would obtain the necessary financial support to execute his charter, Saifuddin said, “It is true, all Pakatan Rakyat (PR) representatives get zero allocations from the federal government.”
He said, however, that PR Members of Parliament and state assemblypersons could still service their constituents through contributions from those who supported their objectives, whether individuals or the private sector.
“Besides, there are no leakages when we implement our budgets to carry out our programs,” he said.
Penanti has 15,384 registered voters, 72.68% of whom are Malay Malaysians, 24.22% Chinese Malaysians, 2.39% Indian Malaysians and 0.71% from other communities.
Polling day is set for 31 May.