Vacating of seat for Anwar: Tian Chua not involved in discussion

Nik Sukry Ramli

KUANTAN: Many factors have been considered before taking the decision to vacate a parliamentary seat to pave the way for the party's incoming president Datuk Seri Anwar Ibrahim to contest in.

In saying this, the party's deputy president hopeful Rafizi Ramli claimed that eventhough voter turnout at the recent three by-elections was low, it does not reflect the rakyat's overall mood.

"Yes when we look at the percentage (voter turnout) of the Sungai Kandis, Seri Setia and Balakong by-elections, they were very low and maybe there will be some form of impact if we have another one (by-election).

"However, this is a decision agreed by all, including (outgoing PKR president) Datuk Seri Dr Wan Azizah Wan Ismail and the incumbent of that parliamentary seat...the plan (to vacate the seat) was made before the 14th General Election (GE14) and the individual involved was already aware of this.

"Although we see the mood of the rakyat at the moment is not the same as it was during GE14, PKR has a reason why it wants to expedite the process (of vacating a seat) and among the factor is that this decision is made to ensure the reformation process of the parliamentary institution can be carried out effectively," he said.

Rafizi said this to the media after attending PKR's 20 years of reformation event at the Dagangan Mahkota Complex, near here, last night.

Also present were Kuantan MP Fuziah Salleh and Semambu assemblyman Lee Chean Chun.

The voter turnout for the Sungai Kandis election was at 50.31 percent. As for the Seri Setia by-election last Saturday, voter turnout was even lower, at 44.1 percent.

As for Balakong, where the by-election also took place on the same day as Seri Setia, the Election Commission (EC) announced a record low turnout of 43 percent.

Rafizi said an announcement as to which seat will be vacated will be made this week and called for all quarters to be patient.

"If I can, I want to announce it now... but, it has been agreed by the leadership so we wait.. in a day or two it will be announced by Datuk Seri Wan Azizah," he said.

Meanwhile, commenting on PKR vice president Tian Chua who claimed that the announcement made by Rafizi was done without the knowledge of party leadership, the latter said this was the personal opinion of the former Batu MP.

"Not everything in PKR we inform him (Tian Chua)... that is his personal opinion and I respect it. If you want to ask me about his comment, I am not sure why Tian Chua made that statement.

"With regard to this decision (vacating a parliamentary seat), maybe Tian Chua as vice president felt awkward that he was not directly involved in the discussion... I admit, there are things that we involve all party leaders, and there are things discussed between Anwar, Wan Azizah and myself," Rafizi added. © New Straits Times Press (M) Bhd