Keadilan to downplay Islamic state issue in by-election

Keadilan may dodge the Islamic state issue and focus instead on national pressure points in its forthcoming Indera Kayangan state by-election campaign.
  The party's secretary-general Sahri Bahri said the Islamic state issue "will not feature prominently" in the contest as the candidate vying for the Perlis state seat would be a Chinese.

"We will instead highlight national issues such as the economic situation in the country, political repression, the MCA debacle and local issues such as the menteri besar's mismanagement of the state," Sahri told malaysiakini.

The by-election will take place on Jan 19, after a nine-day campaign period beginning Jan 10, nomination day.

The seat fell vacant following the death of Barisan Nasional state assembly representative Khor Liang Tee on Dec 19.

The contest is expected to be intense as Keadilan is seeking to repeat its success story in the 1999 Lunas state by-election after suffering massive losses in Likas (Sabah) and Sarawak state elections last year.

Chinese votes
It is learnt that the party is wary of DAP's attempt to sway the debate from national issues to the Islamic state controversy if its members campaign in Perlis, thus derailing Keadilan's pursuit of more Chinese votes.

The DAP, however, has decided to withdraw its support of the opposition as it does not want to be dragged into the Islamic state debate between Umno and PAS, which the party claimed would be the main tussle there nor would it want to be seen as supporting PAS' Islamic state.

According to Keadilan supreme council member Cheah Kah Peng, the Islamic state was a 'non-issue' as the Barisan Alternatif has agreed to abide by the coalition's 1999 common manifesto which made no mention of the subject.

"That is why we will concentrate on national issues which are crucial not only for the BA but all Malaysians as well," Cheah told malaysiakini.

People's voice
He said despite the party's success in Lunas, the "people's voice" did not seem to have jolted the Barisan Nasional out of its complacency.

He said in the last four years since the 1998 financial crisis, the government "had not really injected the confidence of the people towards the ruling party".

Cheah, a lawyer from Penang, was on his way to set up several operation centres in Indera Kayangan when he told malaysiakini that the people must vote for Keadilan if they want checks and balances in the present administration.

"Voting for Keadilan does not mean changing the entire government. But it would mean that government leaders should perform better," he said.

Cheah dispelled rumours that he would be the Keadilan candidate in Indera Kayangan.

Keadilan is expected to announce its candidate after the party's supreme council meeting on Monday.
It is learnt that the BA presidential council which met on Jan 1 had dwelled on the issue and had made its proposal to the party.

No comments: