PETALING JAYA: Zairil Khir Johari has questioned if the Penang BN leader had the courage to stand up to his party leader, Najib Razak, after the BN expressed doubts about Zairil’s mettle, being the “blue-eyed boy” of DAP secretary-general Lim Guan Eng.
Zairil, who is contesting the Tanjong Bunga state seat in Penang, asked if his opponent, Barisan Nasional’s Teng Chang Yeow, would dare to stand up against Najib.
Teng is state BN and Gerakan chairman. Yesterday, Teng had said he doubted whether Zairil would inform Lim of the concerns faced by Tanjung Bungah constituents, being Guan Eng’s “blue-eyed boy”.
He said DAP’s former two-term assemblyman, Teh Yee Cheu, had been marginalised and forced to leave the party after bringing up environment issues and concerns about development projects at the state assembly.
Zairil said in response: “Teng may call me whatever he wants, but I can categorically state that I have no problems voicing out the concerns of the people as I have been doing precisely that for the last five years as the MP for Bukit Bendera.”
He said he had not only spoken up on relevant issues as DAP’s parliamentary spokesperson for education, but had also expressed strong views on other matters like the goods and services tax (GST) and 1MDB.
He had also opposed PAS president Abdul Hadi Awang’s motion for a private member’s bill to increase shariah court criminal powers and was vilified for it. “I even had posters labelling me as ‘anti-Islam’ put up all over Penang, but I stood my ground,” he said.
Besides Zairil and Teng, two others are in contention to represent Tanjung Bungah: former journalist Chua Cheong Wee (Parti Rakyat Malaysia) and Zheng Yong (Malaysian United Party).