Updated 4:40pm, 17 April 2009
KLANG, 17 April 2009: Datuk Seri Najib Razak said today too much time, energy and money have been spent on by-elections that need not be held.
The prime minister said that a by-election should only be held when the elected representative died.
He said this when asked to comment on the resignation of Mohamad Fairus Khairuddin of Parti Keadilan Rakyat as Penanti state assemblyperson in Penang yesterday, which would likely see another by-election being held.
“This resignation is a political decision and can been described as a political game for certain purposes. So the people in general don’t like by-elections that are deliberately forced to be held,” he told a news conference after opening the 63rd annual general meeting of the Association Chinese Chamber of Commerce Malaysia (ACCIM) here.
Asked whether Fairus’ action was a betrayal of the voters’ trust, he said it was up to the people to judge.
“There are many views now that we are over-politicking at a time when we should be focusing on restoring the country’s economy and fighting for the interests and wellbeing of the people to look forward to our future and take the nation to greater heights of success,” he said. Mohammad Fairus in announcing his resignation, effective yesterday said he wanted to pursue his studies asnd spend more time with his family and to clear his name of the allegations hurled against him.
Mohammad Fairus, 32, is under investigation by the Malaysian Anti-Corruption Commission (MACC) over allegations of corruption involving quarry operations.
Najib also said that under the Federal Constituion besides the death of an incumbent, the other reasons for holding by-elections were if the assemblyperson or member of parliament was declared a bankrupt or incapable of discharging his duties and responsibilities due to certain factors.
“Resigning actually runs counter to the concept of parliamentary democracy because once you offer yourself, you should be committed to working for the duration of the parliemantary or state term to serve the people,” he said.
On the likelihood of demonstrations like those in Thailand occurring in Malaysia, he said: “I don’t see it…because we are a nation and society that uphold the constitution and the law, so the rule of law is the principle and pillar that we respect.”
Najib said: “we should not respect the court’s decision only when it favours and do all sorts of things when it does not.
PAS secretary-general Kamaruddin Jaafar had said in the party’s organ, Harakah, that it was not impossible that the people of Perak would resort to demonstrations like those in Pattaya, Thailand, if the Perak state assembly was not dissolved and fresh elections called.
Asked to comment on an article in a Malay language newspaper which called on the Malay Malaysians to rise and protect their rights, Najib said: “We must be moderate. Islam is a religion that preaches moderate thinking and action. We cannot act along racial lines; we cannot go overboard in our thinking.”
After opening the AGM, Najib presented an award to outstanding student Siti Norsyamiera Samsudin of Sekolah Menengah Tanjung Sepat who obtained 9As, including in Mandarin, in last year’s Penilaian Menengah Rendah examination.
Her father, Samsudin Hashim, has served at the ACCIM secretariat for 23 years.
Najib said the award reflected the “spirit of unity that still binds us”.— Bernama