Ex-MIC Man and Independent Batu Candidate Willing to Substitute for Tian Chua

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A former EC chief says Tian Chua’s nomination should not have been rejected, while the incumbent Batu MP awaits tomorrow to find out if he is still in the running for the race or has to endorse one of the two independent candidates.

Independent candidate Datuk VM Panjamothy has expressed willingness to join PKR, if that was a better way for him to serve the people.

Although he has declined to disclose if there are any ongoing discussions on the matter, the first-time candidate said his mission and determination to serve will not be deterred.

While Tian Chua has sought for a court decision on his “unfair” disqualification, there has been suggestions for PKR to endorse one of the independent candidates in Batu as their representative in the constituency.

Panjamothy told The Sun he will join the party officially and pledge support to the ideologies of PKR and Pakatan Harapan (PH) if they decide to endorse him.

Amirul Syafiq Mohd Din

“I am definitely open for discussions as this would only benefit the constituents. It will be a win-win situation,” he said.

Born and bred in Sentul, the 62-year-old activist and businessman is not a new face in most parts of Batu due to his social works in the community through various NGOs and in MIC in the past 40 years.

“Due to my involvement in social works, I am well-known among all races in Sentul and the support I have received from the people so far have been encouraging.

“I decided to contest this time to seek more empowerment. With more empowerment I will have more say and will be able to voice out grouses at a higher level,” Panjamothy said.

Admitting that it would not be an easy task to reach out to the over 70,000 voters by going on a door-to-door campaign, he believes a personal touch is more effective when reaching out to people.

On his resignation as a member from MIC, Panjamothy expressed grave disappointment when his contributions to the party and service to the community went unrecognised.

Having served for over 30 years in MIC from grassroot level, the former central working committee member said it was frustrating when there was “no justice in real hard work”.

Panjamothy submitted his resignation to MIC secretariat one day before nomination day when he decided to contest as an independent.

On Monday night, Chua told the more than 200 supporters at a solidarity rally in Sentul that there was a plan and to wait for his signal.

The PKR vice-president said his lawyers filed a suit at the Kuala Lumpur High Court, which will hear the case tomorrow, to reverse the Election Commission’s (EC) rejection of his nomination to contest.

However, he saw the possibility that the court may find in favour of the EC, or that the Commission may ignore the ruling.

Chua said if this fails and he is disqualified from contesting, he will ensure the Batu constituency will not be left out of the Opposition’s movement.

“As a last resort, wait for my signal,” Chua said.

“We want to identify a party that supports the Pakatan and reformasi movement, and I will endorse that candidate or party,” Chua told the crowd.

He said the candidate PKR endorses must fulfil three main criteria – declare their support for the PH agenda, show their unwavering commitment to the Batu community and prove their sincerity in making a change beyond the constituency.

He appealed to voters to work together to support the candidate they endorse and ensure Pakatan’s victory in the elections.

He also urged voters to keep the PKR spirit in Batu alive by flying party flags in their homes as his disqualification means the party is not allowed to put up any campaign materials in the constituency.

“They can take down the flag from the streets but not from your house or your heart,” he said.

At the candlelight vigil in support of Chua, several PKR leaders, including caretaker Selangor exco Elizabeth Wong, incumbent Rawang state assemblyperson Gan Pei Nei and incumbent Wangsa Maju MP Dr Tan Kee Kwong were also in attendance.

Wong informed the crowd that Chua stands a good chance of getting the courts to quash the EC’s decision to disqualify him.

“We were told it is highly possible for us to win the case on Thursday, thus to include Tian Chua’s name on the ballot paper,” she said to the cheers of the crowd.

Thus, she urged the crowd to show up at Kuala Lumpur Court Complex to show Chua their support.

Not mincing her words, Wong also accused the EC of being Umno’s hired “thug.”

“The EC’s action was not that of a free and fair institution, but an institution that acted as a branch of Umno.

Yusof Mat Isa

“It acted like a thug hired by Umno,” she said.

As of now, Batu will see a four-cornered fight between Gerakan vice-president Datuk Dr Dominic Lau representing Barisan Nasional, Azhar Yahya representing PAS and independent candidates P Prabakaran and Datuk VM Panjamothy.

Meanwhile, former EC chief Tan Sri Abdul Rashid Abdul Rahman said the returning officer (RO) handling Chua’s nomination papers should not have rejected his nomination when it is not very clear whether a fine of RM2,000 in the court of law disqualifies a person from contesting in an election.

Asked by Nanyang Siang Pau for his comment on the disqualification, Abdul Rashid said: “In fact, the returning officer has no right to reject Tian Chua’s nomination papers because the Parliament (prior to its dissolution), following the RM2,000 fine imposed on Tian Chua by the (Shah Alam) High Court on March 2, had allowed Tian Chua to remain as an MP and perform his duties as a parliamentarian.”

“An MP’s status is decided by the Parliament, not a returning officer,” he said.

Abdul Rashid said during his tenure as EC chief, no potential candidates had been disqualified because of a court conviction.

In this case, the RO should have accepted the nomination papers, he said, adding that if the incumbent MP is re-elected, the losing candidates can challenge the result if they are not happy.

Abdul Rashid, who was EC chief from 2000 to 2008, is currently a vice-president of Parti Pribumi Bersatu Malaysia.

He is contesting in the Kelantan state seat of Kota Lama.

On PKR’s Rantau candidate Dr S Streram being barred from the nomination centre for not having the EC pass to enter the nomination centre, Abdul Rashid said the rule for an EC pass does exist but it has nothing to do with nomination requirements.

“During my days with the EC, it has never touched on that little-known regulation.

“As long as the candidates have the nomination papers and money, they can file their nominations.

Sam Tham/The Star

“The Rantau seat for sure will see a court case on the matter,” he said.

Related reports:

Apr 30, Tian Chua Takes EC to Court over Batu Disqualification

Apr 20, Lau to Face Tian Chua Again

Mar 2, Tian Chua Can Run in GE14 After Court Cuts Fine