Najib says country does not need another by-election

By Sunday April 19th, 2009 No Comments

KLANG, April 17 — Newly-minted Prime Minister Datuk Seri Najib Razak is weary of by-elections and just wants to move forward with his job: fixing the limp economy and taking Malaysia to a higher level, all in the name of taking care of the public’s best interests, he says.

“Too much time, energy and ringgit are being spent on by-elections that are actually unnecessary,” he told reporters today after opening the 63rd annual general meeting of the Associated Chinese Chambers of Commerce and Industry of Malaysia (ACCCIM).

Najib looked visibly tired when asked to comment on the likely by-election awaiting Penang voters in Penanti, a state seat within the mainland Permatang Pauh parliamentary constituency.

Permatang Pauh voters also went to the polls last August, in which Najib led the Barisan Nasional campaign that resulted in a return to Parliament of his arch-rival Datuk Seri Anwar Ibrahim.

Najib noted there had been too much “politicking in our country when right now we should focus on recovering our economy and taking care of the people’s interests and to move forward for the sake of our country and take Malaysia to a higher level of success”.

“This resignation is a political decision and can be likened to a political game for certain purposes,” he said, referring to Penanti assemblyman and former Penang Deputy Chief Minister I Mohammad Fairus Khairuddin, who resigned yesterday amid a flurry of corruption allegations just over a year after being elected to the seat on a PKR ticket.

“The rakyat generally do not like by-elections that are deliberately held,” he added.

Asked if he saw by-elections as a “betrayal” of voters’ trust, especially those held because of the resignations of the elected representatives instead of death, the prime minister laughed before sidestepping the issue.

“That’s up to the rakyat to decide. The rakyat is intelligent and can make their own decisions,” Najib said.

The Barisan Nasional coalition now headed by Najib has lost big in all but one of the five by-elections held to date, which have been lauded by the opposition alliance as a “referendum” on his leadership.

Najib was quick to steer the topic away from the sore subject when asked to comment on the BN’s “chances” in Penanti.

“It’s not a question of the chances. I’m just talking about the principle, the principle of by-elections,” he said.

He noted that calling for by-elections through the resignation of a member of Parliament or state assemblyman “runs counter to the concept of parliamentary democracy, because once you offer yourself, you should be committed to working the duration of the parliamentary or state term to serve the people”.

Najib also rejected the possibility of Malaysia, particularly in Perak which is at the centre of a constitutional conundrum, suffering a crisis similar to the political violence which erupted in Thailand over the weekend and which disrupted the Asean summit he narrowly escaped.

“I don’t see a crisis happening because we are a country and a society that holds firmly to the supremacy of the Constitution and laws,” the prime minister replied when asked if he saw a crisis happening in Perak after the Federal Court yesterday over-ruled the orders of the state assembly speaker, which has blurred the separation of powers between the judiciary and the legislature.

“The rule of law must be upheld as a pillar of principles that we must respect. Don’t just respect when the decision is favourable to us but when the decision does not favour us, do something else,” Najib added.

Source : The Malaysian Insider

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