After Penanti, PKR readies for Perak, Sarawak
By Lee Wei Lian
PENANG, June 1 – Fresh from its guaranteed success in the Penanti by-election, PKR is now gearing up for state elections which it thinks will happen soon in Perak as well as Sarawak.
PKR vice-president Azmin Ali disclosed the party believes that Barisan Nasional will call for fresh polls in the troubled state of Perak immediately after the decision from an expected appeal to the Federal Court by Pakatan Rakyat on who is the lawful state mentri besar.
“We are preparing ourselves for state elections to be held very soon in Perak and also in Sarawak. From the information we gathered, they have no other options but to go back to the people to get a new mandate (in Perak),” Azmin told The Malaysian Insider at the sidelines of the Penanti victory celebrations.
“I believe they will call state elections immediately after the decision of the federal court because they do not want the anger in Perak to spill over to other states in the next general election.”
Given the mood on the ground, he said Pakatan would win the contest while Barisan can afford to lose another state, but not “many other states” in the next general elections.
“That is their strategy. Our strategy is for all parties in Pakatan to start working and strengthen our position to be one united formidable force and this is the better option for all Malaysians.”
The Perak crisis is now into its fifth month, with both coalitions claiming to be the rightful state government after Barisan toppled Pakatan by gaining the support of three rogue lawmakers who turned independent.
Pakatan said the trio resigned but the Election Commission and the courts have not over-ruled the claim.
The Perak ruler had also rejected Pakatan’s request for fresh polls, which it claims is the best option but Barisan had resisted the idea for months until recently when The Malaysian Insider learnt that a consensus is emerging among the ruling coalition lawmakers that fresh polls would be their best option.
As for Sarawak, state elections must be held by 2011 but there is growing speculation that polls could be held soon.
Asked about the speculation that Pakatan’s strategy is also to force by-elections in order to put BN under pressure, Azmin replied that it is not about putting pressure but about ensuring quality.
“It is about our promise to the rakyat. Our representatives must deliver, must work hard once they are elected. If they don’t perform, we don’t hesitate to remove them. We are willing to go back to the people, let the people decide. We want the best representative to represent the rakyat,” said Azmin who has been tasked by PKR with strengthening leadership at the state and division levels.
The Penanti seat fell vacant after Mohammad Fairus Khairuddin quit on April 16, just over a week after resigning as deputy chief minister of Penang following graft allegations, of which he was later cleared.
After the result yesterday from Penanti, which Barisan skipped, Pakatan has won five by-elections – all in peninsular Malaysia – to Barisan’s one in Sarawak BN since Election 2008.
The next by-election is in the Kelantan seat of Manek Urai on July 14.The seat fell vacant following the death of PAS state legislator Ismail Yaacob on May 22.