Prime Minister Najib Abdul Razak today lashed out at PKR for playing political games at the time when the nation should be united in focusing on solving the global economic crisis.
He said that the opposition party was forcing people to go to another by-election with the resignation of former Penang Deputy Chief Minister I Mohammad Fairus Khairuddin as the Penanti state representative.
“The resignation is politically motivated and a political game just for their own purposes and self-interests,” he told reporters in Klang.
He had earlier opened the 63rd annual general meeting of the Associated Chinese Chambers of Commerce and Industry of Malaysia.
“The people generally do not like by-elections that are held deliberately,” he added.
He said that by-elections should not be called for wantonly but only held if “the state representative had passed away”.
“There is so much time, energy and money being spent on by-elections that we do not even need.
“There is so much politicking in the country when we should have instead focused on fixing the economy, prioritising the people’s benefits. We should move forward (beyond this),” he said.
â€˜We’re talking principles’
Mohammad Fairus tendered his resignation as the elected representative yesterday, paving way for a by-election to be held within the next 60 days.
This will be the sixth by-election after the 2008 general election.
The first was in Permatang Pauh which was retained by PKR through its leader Anwar Ibrahim. After that PAS wrestled the Kuala Terengganu parliamentary seat from BN.
And then earlier this month, three more by-elections were held in Bukit Gantang (retained by PAS), Bukit Selambau (retained by PKR) and Batang Ai (retained by BN).
When asked on how he rated the BN’s chance of winning in Penanti, Najib said: “(It is) not a question of chances. We are talking about the principles of the by-elections according to constitution.
“Resigning runs contrary to the concept of parliamentary democracy and such.
“Once you offer yourself, you are committed to working in the duration of the parliamentary or state assembly to serve the people,” he added.
Meanwhile, the Penang Election Commission deputy chief Mohd Faiz Syazwan Zainal Abidin confirmed receiving Mohammad Fairus’ resignation letter from Penang assembly speaker Abdul Halim Hussain.
And in Putrajaya, EC deputy chairperson Wan Ahmad Wan Omar said that the commission would be holding a meeting next week to decide on by-election.
The Penanti seat falls under the Permatang Pauh parliamentary seat, a PKR stronghold.
Najib on Utusan’s racist stand
Touching on a different matter, the prime minister was also asked to respond to a provocative headline by Umno-owned Utusan Malaysia on Wednesday.
The daily front-paged an article headlined â€˜Bangkitlah Melayu’ (Arise Malays) calling for the Malays to stay united in the face of unreasonable demands made by other races.
DAP leader Lim Kit Siang yesterday had hit out at the newspaper for publishing the “inflammatory and racist material”.
However, Najib today said that the daily’s headline and article was open for everyone’s own interpretation.
He also deflected questions when asked if the daily’s stand was running contrary to his own One Malaysia concept which promotes unity and oneness of all Malaysians.
“This (Utusan Malaysia report) is open for the people to interpret. I am not speaking on behalf of Utusan, but I would not accept any extreme behaviour from anyone in the country,” Najib said.
“Even in Islam, it teaches us to live moderately and not to be racist towards each other. And we also should not have any extreme set of thoughts,” he explained, without being specific as to whom he was referring to.
Accept the decision in Perak
The prime minister was also asked to comment on the Federal Court decision yesterday which overturned Perak speaker V Sivakumar’s suspension of Menteri Besar Zambry Abd Kadir and his exco members.
This decision, coupled with another earlier Federal Court decision to reject Sivakumar’s decision in declaring three state seats vacant, will allow BN and three BN-friendly independents to have a majority in the assembly.
Najib said that the decision of the apex court would mean “there will be no issue” in the state now.
He said Malaysia was a country where the people held strongly to the federal constitution and the rule of law.
“I don’t see any issue coming from the state… the rule of law is the foundation principle that we must respect.
“Not only we should respect it when the win is on our side, we should also respect if it happens otherwise too,” he said.
Najib, however, refused to comment on his meeting with Terengganu Menteri Besar Ahmad Said yesterday following Tuesday’s boycott by 10 BN backbenchers in the state assembly.
“No need to mention,” he said.
Source : Malaysiakini