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‘Malay presence not weak in Penang’

 | August 1, 2012

PAS says if the Penang Malays want a stronger presence in the state, than they should vote for PAS or PKR.

ALOR STAR: PAS deputy president Mohamad Sabu today denied that the Malay presence is weak in Penang and his party would agree with Pakatan Rakyat’s allocation of seats for the elections.

Sabu, also known as Mat Sabu, was referring to a Malay faction in DAP that wants more Malay candidates to be fielded.

Mat Sabu said if the Penang Malays want a stronger presence in the DAP-led state government or agencies, they should vote for PAS or PKR.

“I believe in Penang, the seats allocation would be status quo. At the most, there would only be a swap of one or two seats to consolidate Pakatan Rakyat. We should mostly offer the same alignment.”

Therefore, the issue of the Malay presence being weak in Penang does not arise at all, Mat Sabu said in an interview.

Penang DAP Malay coordinator Zulkifli Md Noor had in the past suggested that the party considers fielding more Malay candidates to dilute a widely held perception within the Malay community that his party is Chinese based.

A civil group called the Penang Malay Congress, whom critics have branded as a satellite party of DAP, is often championing for the party to field Malay candidates in Penang.

Its outspoken president Rahmad Isahak said DAP, being the dominant political force now in Penang, should take the lead by fielding Malay candidates to showcase its multi-ethnic ideology.

There are presently only four constituencies held by Malays in Penang Pakatan out of a total of 40 state seats.

The four are Batu Maung held by state executive councillor Abdul Malik Abul Kassim, Permatang Pasir held by Penang PAS commissioner Mohd Salleh Man, Penanti, which is under Deputy Chief Minister Mansor Othman, as well as Sungai Bakap held by Maktar Shapee.

Eleven others are held by Umno through Barisan Nasional (BN).

Pakatan needs time

Mat Sabu said PAS and PKR are expected to field candidates against Umno in the next election and voters here should overwhelmingly support Pakatan in the Malay seats.

This would naturally translate to Pakatan having more Malay presence in Penang, he added.

Mat Sabu’s statement comes on the heels of speculation that Penang Chief Minister Lim Guan Eng may field one of his political secretaries, Zairil Khir Johari in the state as a symbolic sign of goodwill for DAP to the Malay community.

It was reported that the Malays who constitute the bulk of the lower-middle to low income groups in Penang, are struggling to find affordable homes, quality jobs and proper healthcare.

Despite this, Mat Sabu expects Penang to continue as the bastion of Pakatan, similar to how Kelantan has survived close to two decades under PAS, as he argues that the problems can only be resolved if Pakatan is given time to address it and if Pakatan takes control of the federal government.


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