While Raub DAP division has vetoed Mohd Ariff Sabri Aziz’s candidacy, MCA has claimed that the latter is a threat to Chinese education.
PETALING JAYA: DAP has come under heavy criticism from all quarters for fielding former Umno Pantai Manis assemblyman Mohd Ariff Sabri Abdul Aziz as the candidate for the Raub parliamentary constituency in Pahang.
Party secretary-general Lim Guan Eng had announced on Monday that Mohd Ariff, who blogs as sakmongkolak47, would be DAP’s candidate in Raub in place of Tengku Zulpuri Raja Puji Shah, a popular figure among the grassroots members in Raub.
Tengku Zulpuri was slotted for the Mentakab seat.
Following the announcement, some 50 DAP leaders from the Raub division held an emergency meeting earlier this week and vetoed Mohd Ariff’s candidacy and appealed to the party’s central leadership to reconsider its decision.
They claimed Tengku Zulpuri was a better candidate for Raub because he had been active on the ground for several years.
Mohd Ariff, a frequent critic of Umno and its policy, only joined DAP in January last year. He was not roped in by Umno in the 12th general election although he was a state assemblyman from 2004-2008.
When contacted by FMT, Tengku Zulpuri said he understood the feelings of the grassroots members because they have been spending time and money with him to make voters understand about the Pakatan policies.
“I hope the new candidate can continue with the mission,” he said.
However, he dodged the question on whether he still harboured hope of contesting in Raub, saying that the people in Mentakab had expressed support for him.
Mohd Ariff an ‘extremist’
Meanwhile, MCA has also lambasted DAP for fielding Mohd Ariff whom it described as a detractor to Chinese vernacular schools.
In a statement issued yesterday, MCA national youth education bureau chief Chong Sin Woon claimed that Mohd Ariff had demanded that the federal government cease providing funds to the Chinese schools.
He claimed Mohd Ariff had said that by denying allocations to Chinese schools, they would eventually fold-up.
Calling Mohd Ariff an “extremist”, Chong said DAP’s move of fielding him proved that the party was oblivious to the feelings of the Chinese, who made up 41.24% of the Raub’s voters.
“[DAP secretary-general] Lim Guan Eng has ignored the feelings of the Chinese community, and turned a blind eye to the threat of Chinese education.
“This caused the locals to worry; if this man wins, what will happen to the status of the Chinese education there,” he said, urging the voters in Raub to reject Mohd Ariff.
Raub, being a semi-rural constituency, is currently held by MCA vice-president Dr Ng Yen Yen. She has been Raub MP since 1999.
In the last general election, Ng defeated DAP candidate Abu Bakar Lebai Sudin by a 2,752-vote majority.