Thursday, April 16, 2009

Fairus finally resigns from Penanti state seat

Former Penang deputy chief minister Mohammad Fairus Khairuddin finally resigned as Penanti state assemblyman and it hints that Pakatan Rakyat has serious internal conflicts or leaders who keep secrets from each other.

Embattled Mohammad Fairus Khairuddin, who quit as the Penang deputy chief minister 1 earlier this month after allegations of being involved in illegal quarrying, resigned his Penanti state seat to force a by-election that could decide his replacement.

His resignation will lead to a by-election within 60 days in Penanti, which is under Anwar's Permatang Pauh parliamentary constituency.

Mohammad Fairus, 33, said he took this step to resign as a state representative to protect the interest of his party, Parti Keadilan Rakyat (PKR).

It is the sixth by-election in less than a year and it was claimed that the by-election is deliberately planned to gain popularity and support. The party wants to create a 'wave' of support, thinking that they can always win back the seats that their assemblymen had vacated.

Ironically, the resignation hints that Pakatan Rakyat has serious internal conflicts or leaders who keep secrets from each other. The only two Malay PKR assemblymen in Penang are Batu Maung's Abdul Malik Abul Kassim and Sungai Bakap's Maktar Shapee.

Abdul Malik, who is a state executive councillor, is seen as the frontrunner but Anwar did not pick him last year when Pakatan Rakyat took the state from Barisan Nasional, opting instead for the inexperienced Fairus.

The allegations of Fairus being involved in illegal quarrying seem to be another cause of his resignation.

By far, the Malaysian Anti-Corruption Commission has completed its investigations and has handed the papers over to its prosecution division but Fairus has yet to be charged with any offence.

It was reported that DAP and PAS, PKR's partners in the Pakatan Rakyat coalition, are not happy about forcing another by-election as the people were suffering from election fatique. There have already been five by-elections since the March 8 2008 general election.

The Penanti seat is under the Permatang Pauh parliamentary seat, held by Anwar. It has an electorate of 15,421, of which 70% are Malays, 26.7% Chinese and 2.7% Indians.

Fairus won by majority of 2219 votes. Penanti falls within the Permatang Pauh parliamentary constituency (P044), held by Anwar, is a large seat in the middle of Seberang Prai.

Permatang Pauh has 58,459 voters and Penanti has the smallest number of voters in Permatang Pauh with 15,380 voters, the other two constituencies are Seberang Jaya with 22,790 voters and Permatang Pasir 20,289 voters.

During the March 8 2008 general election, Fairus won by a 2,219 vote majority after obtaining 7,346 votes to Umno's Datuk Abdul Jalil Abdul Majid who obtained 5,127 votes.

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