Gerakan squeezes Pakatan over Fairus

By Lee Wei Lian, The Malaysian Insider

The Penang Gerakan is pressuring Pakatan Rakyat over former deputy chief minister I Mohammad Fairus Khairuddin’s replacement apart from asking the Penanti state assemblymen to come clean to his constituents.

The state Gerakan secretary Ong Thean Lye also wants Penang chief minister Lim Guan Eng to name a replacement immediately, saying any delay would cause work to pile up. The post is reserved for a Malay assemblyman from PKR.

Criticising Fairus’s silence which was unfair to his voters, Ong said, “Unfortunately, all the while, he just reported to one person only, that is PKR de facto leader Anwar Ibrahim, and did not explain to his constituents what had happened to him.”

Fairus officially left the post on April 8, more than two weeks after sending his resignation letter.

Gerakan, which ruled Penang since 1969 but lost it to Pakatan Rakyat in Election 2008, has been putting pressure on the case after the Malaysian Anti-Corruption Commission (MACC) began investigating Fairus for alleged involvement in illegal quarrying activities.

If charged and found guilty, the PKR man will have to automatically vacate his Penanti state seat, thus triggering a by-election. The MACC submitted its investigation documents to its prosecution division on April 10.

The allegation was made by national PKR Youth exco member — Amizuddin Ahmat — in February, and this was believed to be the reason for Fairus quitting.

Recent statements appear to be Gerakan Penang trying to reassert itself in the state and it has sensed in the disgraced Fairus’s resignation, a potential weakness in the fledging coalition.

Ong took a swipe at Lim for having to consult opposition leader Anwar in making the appointment, despite the fact that the appointment is the prerogative of the chief minister. “Why take so long in getting a replacement? Lim could have asked his boss PKR de facto leader Anwar Ibrahim, to nominate a candidate without delay,” Ong said.

Lim has said that although it was his prerogative to appoint the candidate, he would wait for Anwar to propose a candidate.

In the spirit of camaraderie, I will respect Anwar’s decision on the choice of candidate. Anwar and I communicate almost daily but since he has asked me to give him some time, I will do so,” Lim added yesterday.