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Fairus quits Penanti, forces by-election

Posted in Uncategorized by malaysiasms on April 16, 2009

Malaysian Insider

fairus-apr161GEORGE TOWN, April 16 — Embattled Mohammad Fairus Khairuddin, who quit as the Penang deputy chief minister 1 last week after allegations of graft, today resigned his Penanti state seat to force a by-election that could decide his replacement.

In a four-paragraph statement today, Fairus said his decision is best in the interest of PKR and would also allow him to continue his post-graduate studies and spend time with his family.

“This will also allow me to focus on clearing my name from all the allegations thrown at me,” the double-master’s holder said in the statement issued by the PKR information bureau.

The 34-year-old assemblyman also thanked Penanti voters for their support since Election 2008.

“This decision is for the good of all, PKR and the struggle with the leadership under Datuk Seri Anwar Ibrahim as party adviser to ensure truth and justice,” he added.

Anwar said last week that Fairus would remain as Penanti assemblyman until the end of his term but it is not known what transpired over the past 24 hours for Fairus to change his mind.

State assembly speaker Abdul Halim Hussain said yesterday he had not received any notice of absence from Fairus for the assembly sitting between April 20 and 28.

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

It is learnt that Penang PKR chief and Bayan Baru MP Datuk Zahrain Mohamed Hashim is the frontrunner to contest the by-election. The other candidate is deputy state PKR chief Dr Mansor Othman, who was recently named as one of two senators from Penang.

Penang Chief Minister Lim Guan Eng, who has yet to name a replacement for Fairus, was not available for comment.

In a curt statement yesterday, Lim had alluded to a possible by-election in Penanti after he asked Anwar to solve Penang PKR’s internal problems and nominate a Malay PKR assemblyman for the post.

The only two Malay PKR assemblymen 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.

Fairus sent his resignation letter on March 21 after a fellow PKR member claimed he was involved in illegal quarrying activities. Lim later froze three quarrying operations but denied it was linked to the allegations.

The Malaysia Anti-Corruption Commission (MACC) picked up Fairus on March 26 at the Causeway and questioned him for three hours before releasing him. Lim and his other deputy, Professor Dr P. Ramasamy, gave their statements to the MACC on April 6.

The MACC said it has completed its investigations and has handed over the findings to its prosecution division but Fairus has yet to be charged with any offence.

In Putrajaya, the Election Commission said it was awaiting official notification of Fairus’s resignation as Penanti assemblyman before planning a possible by-election.

The state assembly speaker will have to inform the commission which will then organise a by-election within 60 days of the vacancy.

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