Last week the Penanti state assembly seat in Penang was declared vacant by Parti Keadilan Rakyat (PKR) through a faxed statement to the media. The statement said that the incumbent to the seat Mohammad Fairus Khairuddin has resigned as ADUN. The statement was actually a letter by Fairus himself declaring the seat vacant. The Election Commission had also come out to say that by-election date for the seat would be announced on Friday.
However, there was a sudden announcement by Prime Minister Datuk Seri Najib Tun Razak stating that the BN might not contest the seat. While I have to accept the Barisan Nasional top leadership's decision on the matter, I personally feel that the seat should be contested by the ruling coalition.
Although it could be a waste of public funds and playing into the hands of the political shadow play of the PKR, the BN should and must not forsake the thousands of voters in the constituency, who had faithfully voted the BN in the past.
In the five by-elections we have seen so far, the BN cannot be pushed aside as it too had garnered a good number of voters. The contest has always been close, with the opposition not winning more than 3,000 votes.
Although the opposition won four of the five by-elections, the BN too had shown it still had support of the people although it was not the majority. The traditional BN voters should not be let down. In the by-elections so far, none of BN candidates lost their deposits or fared really bad. This shows that the BN is in the hearts and mind of many people, though they are not the majority. So, why let these people down by not contesting? I feel, apart from this reason, there was many other reasons why the BN should contest the seat.
We should also respect the democratic process, which the BN had propounded again and again in the past. What the ruling coalition should do is to amend the current election laws, so that political parties do not abuse democracy through resignation of elected representatives. This would be better than snubbing any by-election.
Thank you for your attention.
p/s: Many will say no need to contest because BN is going to lose anyway. For me that's a lame excuse. Nothing is certain until you go to the ballots!
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