SUNGAI PETANI, 1 Apr 2009: Parti Keadilan Rakyat (PKR)’s N Gobalakrishnan has 24 hours to apologise publicly for accusing Bukit Selambau’s independent candidates of being Barisan Nasional (BN) stooges, said independent candidate L Sarala.
Sarala “I also want him to show evidence today that we have received money from the BN to contest,” Sarala said at a press conference today.
Sarala’s campaign manager, MG Raja, said he would consider gathering all 13 independent candidates to take action against Gobalakrishnan, such as lodging a police report, if an apology was not forthcoming.
They were responding to a report in today’s Tamil-language daily Malaysia Nanban which quoted Gobalakrishnan, a PKR supreme council member, as accusing all 13 independent candidates of being paid off by the BN.
Sarala, however, said that she was contesting with her own money, and was doing so as an independent because she had lost faith in both the BN and PKR.
“The BN has been lying to the people for a long time, but it appears as though PKR is also turning out the same,” claimed the former Kedah People’s Progressive Party (PPP) Wanita chief.
Sarala said she was confident the other independent candidates were also contesting because they were dissatisfied with both BN and Pakatan Rakyat (PR).
Sarala said that Gobalakrishnan was probably spooked because, as an independent, she had been receiving a lot of favourable coverage in the Chinese-language press.
She added that she had an advantage over all the other candidates as well, being the sole woman contesting the seat.
“He is probably scared that an independent candidate might actually win in this constituency, otherwise why would he make these claims?” she asked.
Raja said, “If he was confident of PKR winning this seat, he would just concentrate on highlighting his party’s strengths.”
When informed by The Nut Graph of Sarala’s demands, Gobalakrishnan, who is also Member of Parliament for Padang Serai, said, “Let her send me a letter first demanding an apology, I want it in black and white.”
The Election Commission has confirmed that the Bukit Selambau by-election has recorded the highest number of candidates — 15 — in the nation’s history.
Candidates have until 12am on 2 April to withdraw from the contest, but in doing so they would lose their election and campaign-materials deposits, amounting to RM8,000.
The 7 April by-election is being held because the incumbent assemblyperson V Arumugam, an-independent-candidate-turned-PKR-member, quit on 8 Feb citing pressure and threats to cross over to the BN.