BN won’t fight for Penanti (sourced from TMI)


KUALA LUMPUR, May 18 — The Barisan Nasional (BN) supreme council announced today that the party will not contest the Penanti state assembly seat in Penang, with Datuk Seri Najib Razak insisting it was a political ploy by Pakatan Rakyat (PR).

The decision today came despite some pressure from former prime minister Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad and his backers not to give PR and Opposition Leader Datuk Seri Anwar Ibrahim a free ride.

The Penanti by-election was called following the resignation of incumbent assemblyman Mohammad Fairus Khairuddin, who had also quit as Penang deputy chief minister amid graft allegations he was later cleared of.

The nomination day is on May 23 while polling is on May 31.

Justifying BN’s decision to stay out, Najib said the by-election was not caused by “provisions within the constitution.”

“It is only a way for PKR to solve its internal problems,” he said.

BN prioritises service to the people and efforts to boost the economy. We will not dance to other people’s tune,” the prime minister insisted.

Many see the Penanti polls as a sure win for PR and BN’s reluctance to contest will fuel the perception that it wanted to avoid yet another electoral defeat in Peninsular Malaysia where it has lost all four by-elections since the 12th general elections in March 2008.

But Najib insisted that there was no reason for BN supporters to be disheartened as this was not the first time BN had not contested an election and that “there has been no such games being played like this until now.”

In an immediate reaction, PKR vice-president Azmin Ali accused BN of looking for excuses not to contest any elections at this point as it was afraid to face the people.

“They are trying to find a way out with any flimsy excuse. In actual fact, the people have lost confidence in BN and that is why BN does not have the courage to contest in Penanti nor in Perak,” he told The Malaysian Insider, referring to Umno’s reluctance to agree that a fresh election is the best way to solve the political impasse in Perak.

DAP parliamentary leader Lim Kit Siang simply said that he was “not surprised” when contacted by The Malaysian Insider.

He added that he would also be expecting BN to field a “phantom candidate” to run as an independent in Penanti.

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Dang! So BN ain’t showing up. It would seem that their plans A, B, C and D didn’t go according to errrr.. plan.

So what was their plan exactly?

Well, folks, here’s my theory –

When Penanti’s MFK was outed by his own in January ’09, UMNO BARU smelt blood up north after spilling some in Perak.

UMNO BARU’s extended state apparatus, the MACC, moved in rather quickly to open an investigation (whilst twiddling their thumbs with other personalities in Selangor and Malacca, for instance). With UMNO BARU’s expertise on sniffing out corruption plus their unique ability in handling such cases by utilising state institutions, they can decide later whether to ‘frog-fry’ MFK or cut the umbilical cord and claim innocence with ‘NFA’.

NTR’s early response to the MACC’s decision not to charge MFK i.e. foregoing a contest in Penanti, was a sign of ‘ooopz, lets not go this way’.

But he forgot about TDM’s differing views. Hence, the protracted exercise of referring the matter with the various UMNO committees and BN councils to seemingly appease the elder statesman.

More importantly, NTR chose to ignore the sovereign right of every Malaysian citizen to exercise their right to vote as and when a vacancy exist, a fact ironically endorsed by the EC.

Therefore, if we’re to consider NTR’s legitimacy to the UMNO BARU presidency whereby there was no election exercise for its own members, “People First, Performance Now” assumes a hollow facade.

NTR’s fear factor in losing elections which will erode more confidence from the general citizenry, will loom larger in Perak, with every ‘executive decision’ made by him.

Sorry Penantians, UMNO BARU do not need nor care about you.

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Sigh! I was so looking forward to Penanti coz Eva promised to pick me up on her Harley in case the BRB gang decide to make me walk again.