Anwar: We will defend Fairus

Written by Regina William, The Edge

Parti Keadilan Rakyat (PKR) will defend former deputy chief minister (DCM) 1 and Penanti assemblyman Mohammad Fairus Khairuddin in the event that he is charged in court on corruption charges.

PKR defacto leader Datuk Seri Anwar Ibrahim, who made a lightning visit to Penanti Friday night, told a packed room of PKR election workers and supporters that the party would stand by him.
Anwar made the trip to especially explain the Fairus saga that had hogged the limelight in recent days.
While thanking Fairus for his contributions as DCM1 and Penanti state assemblyman, Anwar said Fairus had explained to him at length what transpired, including his outburst about exposing the party and state government in an interview with a Chinese newspaper.
Anwar said there was immense pressure on Fairus by certain quarters to turn his back on PKR but he did not succumb, instead he chose to quit and throw his support behind the PKR.
"He said he was quoted out of context by the media, and they were provoking him that it was his fellow party members who had conspired against him, hence it was only natural that he lashed out.

"When he spoke to me he strongly denied this," Anwar told journalists after the briefing session.
He explained why a by-election had to be called.
"If he is preoccupied with the case, then there will accusations he is  not performing.
"We need someone to present and articulate for us in the state government," Anwar said.
He said there was a likelihood that the candidate fielded in Penanti would be proposed as the next DCM1 but there was no certainty.
He said after the by-election, on the assumption that the party wins, the party would recommend to the state government for consideration as it was the prerogative of the Chief Minister to appoint the DCM1.
"With this by-election we will have an option of choosing someone else as the DCM1.
"We will have to field someone who is a strong and senior person in the party so this person will best represent the Malays in the state government besides the other races.
"As in Perak, there were allegations of Datuk Seri Mohd Nizar Jamaluddin being a puppet for the Chinese, and they would also reproduce those allegations during this by-election. 
"We do not want that and we also need a senior PKR representative in the state government to articulate our views," he added.
He also thanked Prime Minister Datuk Seri Najib Razak for his views on the byelection.
"I thank him for his concern and if he feels that the by-election is a waste of funds, then the Barisan Nasional should not contest this by-election. Let us continue representing the people of Penanti and remain the incumbent," he added.
Asked about Penang chief minister Lim Guan Eng's unhappiness over the by-election, Anwar said he too was not happy about the outcome.
"The last thing we wanted was a by-election, it is not a matter of being happy or exciting for anyone," Anwar added.
He added that the letter was faxed to Lim as soon as Fairus decided to quit, even though he (Fairus) had handed over his resignation letter on March 21, the same day he quit as the DCM1.