BUTTERWORTH: Parti Rakyat Malaysia (PRM) secretary-general Koh Swee Yong today refuted allegations hurled against the party on its plans to field candidates in the 14th general election (GE14).
Koh addressed three different issues, mainly that the party would be splitting the votes; that they are being funded by Umno or Barisan Nasional; and that they have failed to abide by PRM’s constitution.
On claims that PRM would be splitting the votes for the opposition, Koh said PRM was founded in 1955, which was much earlier than Pakatan Harapan (PH).
“So, who is actually splitting the votes? If you want to talk about splitting opposition support, PH is the one doing it. Not us,” he said at a press conference today.
On the issue of funding, Koh said while it was true that they had only five candidates in the last general election and that the party was short on financial resources, it was not true that they were being funded by Umno this time around.
He said if they were really financed by Umno, they would be able to contest in more than four states.
“All our candidates have to fork out their own money. Others had to pull out as they do not have enough money,” Koh said.
While Koh did not name the person who had made the allegations, he is believed to be referring to the statements made by former state president Gary GV Nair.
Gary had recently filed a complaint with the Registrar of Societies (RoS) claiming that there was a breach of the party’s constitution and decisions were being made without the support of party members.
Gary, who is still a PRM member, had also claimed that the plans to field candidates in GE14 had not been discussed with PRM members and they were not supported by the majority of members.
Koh also explained that the party allowed those who wanted to serve the people to contest under the PRM ticket, provided they could finance their own campaigns.
On whether the party’s central executive committee (CEC) had vetted and approved the membership applications of those who were contesting in GE14, he said all members had joined the party according to the constitution.
“Those who have criticised us are not active members. They do not know the actual situation in the party.
“But if they think we are not following the procedure, they should have just asked us, instead of going straight to the media and hurling all kinds of baseless allegations,” he said.
Koh said, for instance, the party had applied to RoS to delay its congress and approval had been granted.
PRM northern region chief Tan Chow Kang also weighed in on the issue of funding, stating that it was not true that every candidate needed to have a big sum of money to campaign and that candidates would need someone to give them funding.
“Do not lie and say you need RM50,000 for an election campaign. In fact, RM10,000 is sufficient for a candidate to fund his or her own campaign,” he said.
Meanwhile, Koh said PRM would be fielding about 100 candidates in four states, namely Penang, Kedah, Selangor and Sabah, in 20 parliamentary seats and 80 state seats.
There are about 10,000 PRM members nationwide and 2,000 in Penang.
PRM president Ariffin Salimon had earlier announced that the party would contest four parliamentary and 18 state seats in Penang.
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