Zahid defends Rohaizat’s disqualification as a lawyer

(Bernama) – UMNO Vice-President Datuk Seri Dr Ahmad Zahid Hamidi today stressed that PAS had no right to dispute the candidacy of Rohaizat Othman from Barisan Nasional (BN) for the Permatang Pasir by-election on Aug 25.

He said BN had the prerogative to choose its candidate and other parties should not interfere.

"What is there to dispute about? To us, he (Rohaizat) is our best candidate for the by-election.

"Yesterday, during the nomination of candidates, he brought along his parents and wife. It shows he's a good son who's always supported and blessed by his family," he told reporters, here, on Tuesday.

Ahmad Zahid said BN could also question or comment on PAS' choice of candidate, Mohd Salleh Man, who had never won in any general election despite several attempts, but BN did not wish to do such a thing.

Therefore, he said, PAS and its by-election director Datuk Mahfuz Omar should not make any mischievous or misleading statements on the BN candidate.

Ahmad Zahid, who is also Penang Umno liaison chief, was responding to PAS' call for Rohaizat to withdraw from contesting in the by-election following the the revocation of his civil lawyer's licence by the Malaysian Bar Council.

But BN had explained last Sunday that the revocation was not due to his fault but due to problems involving his partner in the legal firm.

Mahfuz told reporters today that although legally, Rohaizat was eligible to contest in the by-election, morally, he was not.

He went on to say that he regretted BN's decision to place such a candidate, and that "Rohaizat has still a long way to go as he is young and should concentrate on his career".

To this, Ahmad Zahid said PAS should examine itself first before commenting on others.

"What's the worry? We meet on polling day and let the voters decide," he said, adding that he had asked the Umno and BN by-election machinery to explain clearly Rohaizat's position during their door-to-door campaign and ceramah (talks).

The Permatang Pasir state seat by-election is being held following the death of the incumbent assemblyman, Datuk Mohd Hamdan Abdul Rahman from PAS, on July 31.