Pua: Zahrain should be ruled out as Penanti candidate

(The Edge) – Call it a misunderstanding or a spat but it is undeniable that a chasm has opened up in Penang between DAP and Parti Keadilan Rakyat (PKR) over the deputy chief minister 1’s (DCM1) position and the candidate for the Penanti by-election.

In a terse statement today, DAP national publicity secretary Tony Pua lashed out at PKR Penang chairman Datuk Zahrain Mohamed Hashim for launching "baseless attacks" against Penang Chief Minister Lim Guan Eng.

The Petaling Jaya Utara MP was responding to statements from Zahrain on Monday that Lim should not use the media to voice his dissatisfaction over the appointment of the DCM1 and the resignation of Mohammad Fairus Khairuddin as the Penanti assemblyman.

"DAP regrets that Datuk Zahrain is behaving like a little UMNO leader with comments that do not reflect the multi-racial nature of PKR and its Malaysian spirit.

"Such irresponsible comments by him would rule him out as the possible PKR and PR candidate for the Penanti by-election," said Pua.

Oxford-trained Pua added that Zahrain’s statements were "irresponsible and politically-motivated to hide weaknesses in his leadership in Penang PKR".

Zahrain and PKR deputy president Dr Syed Husin Ali had earlier taken Lim to task for voicing his dissatisfaction towards Anwar and PKR over the failure of PKR top brass informing him of Fairus' resignation as assemblyman last week.

"Lim had the right to express his disagreement," said Pua. "It is ironic that while making the call for Lim to stop speaking to the media on the issue, Dr Syed Husin Ali himself chose to issue his statement to the media despite his claims that all matters have been resolved."

Fairus had resigned as Penanti assemblyman on April 16, setting the wheels in motion for another by-election in Penang.

Political pundits expect Zahrain to contest in the Penanti by-election. The Bayan Baru MP is also expected to replace Fairus as DCM1 if he wins.

Penanti, one of three state seats under the parliamentary constituency of Permatang Pauh, has about 15,000 voters.

The Election Commission will meet to discuss the Penanti by-election Wednesday and will announce their decision on Friday.