PKR refutes DAP, insists opposition parties were consulted on previous by-elections

Fahmi Fadzil

(MMO) – PKR has refuted DAP’s claim that it unilaterally made decisions about previous by-elections, and has insisted that opposition parties were consulted in the past.

PKR communications director Fahmi Fadzil said that DAP’s claim was also “inaccurate” as the party’s previous decisions involved by-elections and seats in which PKR was the incumbent.

He pointed out that calling for a by-election was entirely different than DAP’s call for a statewide snap election in Penang.

“First and foremost, there is a huge difference between a single-seat by-election and a state-wide one: the former involves a single seat held by one political party, while the latter involves ― as in the case of Penang ― 40 seats which has a wider impact affecting more than one political party.

“All three examples raised by YAB Lim were in fact single-seat by-elections where KEADILAN was the incumbent, and the immediate impact was on KEADILAN itself,” he said in a statement yesterday, referring to Penang chief minister Lim.

Fahmi said that decisions PKR made with previous by-elections did not affect other opposition parties, unlike the Penang chief minister’s call for Penang snap polls.

Lim had said that DAP felt that it should consult with its allies within the Pakatan Harapan pact on the state polls, despite the fact that PKR had previously unilaterally decided to call for the Penanti, Permatang Pauh and Kajang by-elections in previous years.

Fahmi explained that in Permatang Pauh, the by-elections in 2008 and 2015 revolved solely around Datuk Seri Anwar Ibrahim and was to allow him to return to Parliament as Opposition Leader.

While in Penanti, the 2009 by-election was PKR merely “acting upon concerns raised by the Penang DAP leadership with regards to the non-performance of the former state assemblyperson,” he explained.

In the Kajang by-election, however, Fahmi insisted that DAP and other opposition parties part of the then-opposition coalition were consulted before they arrived at the decision of a by-election.

He reiterated that PKR has always taken a consultative approach to making any decision and will continue to do so.

“We have always consulted with, listened to, and acted upon concerns raised by our coalition partners, and will continue to do so in order to work together towards building a better Malaysia,” he said.

Lim was charged with abuse of power and corruption at the Penang High Court last month over the alleged approval of a rezoning application by Magnificent Emblem to convert agricultural land to residential and over his purchase of his RM2.8 million house from businesswoman Phang Li Koon at below market value of RM4.27 million.

There were calls, especially by his political opponents, for Lim to step down as chief minister or to take a leave of absence pending his court cases going to trial.

DAP and Pakatan Harapan had voiced its full support for Lim to remain as chief minister, labelling the charges as a political move to end Lim’s political career.

In the last week, Lim is insisting that state elections should be held to “protect the people of Penang” as he is certain that he will be jailed.