Thursday, February 6, 2014

Ambiga to Pakatan: Tell us the whole truth

SUBANG JAYA: Pakatan Rakyat must stop its “wishy-washy” stance and confirm with Malaysians whether or not it intends to replace Selangor Menteri Besar Khalid Ibrahim with PKR de facto leader Anwar Ibrahim, former Bersih co-chairperson S Ambiga said.

She said it didn’t make sense that Pakatan had orchestrated the entire Kajang by-election and was fielding Anwar only for him to become a state assemblyman.
“To me, you don’t ask the Opposition Leader to take such a risk just to be a state assemblyman. There has to be more clarity. It just doesn’t compute,” Ambiga said at a forum on the Kajang Move here last night.

“Make your intentions clear. (You keep saying) ‘Maybe menteri besar’, ’if he were menteri besar’… people need to know if they are voting for the future menteri besar of Selangor,” she stressed.
Earlier in the forum, fellow panellist and Selangor DAP chief Tony Pua had said: “If Anwar is to become menteri besar, I believe he, who has been our candidate for the prime minister position, who has been endorsed by Pakatan Rakyat including DAP, will make a very good menteri besar.”
PKR strategy director Rafizi Ramli had also told the forum earlier that night that the Selangor state government needed a political maestro in the form of Anwar to fend off attacks from BN and Umno. Khalid was not sufficiently politically savvy, he had said.
In interviews with the media, Anwar himself had neither confirmed nor denied his intention to gun for the top position in the country’s richest state, but had elaborated what his course of action would be ”if” he helmed Selangor.
Pakatan’s unclear stance on the matter has fuelled speculation that former Kajang assemblyman Lee Chin Cheh resigned his position to allow Anwar to contest the vacated seat, paving way for the latter to become the menteri besar.
He said Pakatan wanted to focus on winning the Kajang by-election first. But Rafizi said last night that it was too early for Pakatan to reveal its plans on the menteri besar position.
“The moment you talk about the menteri besar issue, you complicate matters. You bring in other stakeholders,” he reasoned.
Speak through your vote
Meanwhile, Ambiga urged Kajang voters not to boycott the March 23 by-election no matter how incensed they were for being forced to vote so soon after the general election.
“Consider this: you are getting a second chance to vote. You can ‘say’ how you feel about [the government's performance] since the 13th general election.
“Not everyone can vote with the benefit of hindsight,” she said.
But she did not endorse any particular coalition, saying only that the Kajang people should speak for the whole of Malaysia and reject ”racism” and “bigotry”.
“If you like what BN has been doing, vote for them. If you don’t like what Pakatan has done, vote against them.
“But my personal stance is if any party uses dirty politics, vote against them,” said Ambiga.
The Election Commission has announced nomination day is on March 11, while polling day will be on March 23.
The state seat comprises 38,965 registered voters. At the last general election in May, 2013, the seat saw a voter turnout of 87.9% with 541 spoilt votes. It has 48% Malay voters, Chinese 41%, Indian 10% and others 1%.
In the 2013 general election PKR’s Lee garnered 19,571 votes followed by Lee Ban Seng (Barisan Nasional-MCA) with 12,747 votes and Mohamad Ismail (Berjasa) 1,014 votes. The three independent candidates who contested the seat are Mohd Iwan Jefrey Abdul Majib (249 votes), Ong Yan Foo (85 votes) and Mohd Khalid Kassim (83 votes).
Lee won the seat with a comfortable 6, 824 vote majority.
Except for the MCA candidate all other aspirants lost their deposits in the polls.
Kajang, well known for its satay, is located in the eastern part of Selangor in the Hulu Langat parliamentary constituency. It has a 342,657 population, consisting 60.4% Malays, 19.3% Chinese, 9.7% Indians, and 10.6% other ethnic groups.
The by-election will not have a bearing on who runs the state as Pakatan Rakyat has 44 seats in the 56-seat Selangor state assembly. The remainder 12 seats are held by the Barisan Nasional.

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