Mohd Yusni: "Pas' demand is reasonable since PKR leaders have failed to hold on to their seats."
KUALA LUMPUR: Pas should be allowed to contest in additional state and parliamentary seats in Pulau Pinang as the party was widely accepted and enjoyed greater grassroots support, says Pulau Pinang Pas youth leader Mohd Yusni Mat Piah.
Yusni said Pakatan Rakyat leadership must consider the party's request seriously as the grassroots sentiments were tilted towards Pas at the moment.
In 2008 Pas contested in two parliamentary (Kepala Batas and Tasek Gelugor) and five state seats (Bayan Lepas, Permatang Pasir, Sungai Dua, Permatang Berangan and Penaga).
Pas candidates lost in all the constituencies except for Permatang Pasir which was won by the late Datuk Mohd Hamdan Abdul Rahman.
Yusni told The Mole among new state seats Pas vying for are Sungai Acheh and Perai while for parliamentary seats, the party wants Bayan Baru, Nibong Tebal and Batu Kawan.
“Pas actually has strong presence in Batu Kawan, even in the state level in Perai, the party has strong support," Yusni argued.
Batu Kawan is currently helmed by DAP representative P.Ramasamy, who is also deputy chief minister.
Asked why Pas was demanding for Bayan Baru and Nibong Tebal parliamentary seats Yusni said :"Both seats were won by PKR (Parti Keadilan Rakyat) leaders who then decided to leave the party.”
“Ultimately it is a big loss to Pakatan Rakyat. We view this as a serious issue and to avoid similar incidents in future the two seats must be reassigned to Pas. PKR simply failed to hold on to their seat."
Bayan Baru MP Datuk Seri Zahrain Hashim and Nibong Tebal MP Tan Tee Beng quit PKR and became Independent MPs in 2010 following a serious fallout with the party leadership.
Pulau Pinang Pas commissioner Mohd Salleh Man when contacted dismissed Pas’ demand for additional seats was related to the recent controversy surrounding the appointment of the State’s Religious Council (MAIPP) top post.
Opposition leaders Datuk Seri Anwar Ibrahim had promised Salleh the post during the Permatang Pasir by-elections but the post was recently filled by PKR state assemblyman for Batu Maung Abdul Malik Kassim.
“It has got nothing to do with the MAIPP issue. We want more seats in Penang and we have been deliberating on this for quite sometime now," Salleh explained, endorsing Yusni's statement.
Previously Yusni had said that since Pas was not given the MAIPP post, the party must be allowed to contest in additional seats in the next general elections.
During the Permatang Pasir by-election campaign in August 2009, Anwar reportedly said: “We will ask for Chief Minister Lim Guan Eng to consider appointing Salleh as the head of MAIPP if he wins the seat.”
Salleh had also confirmed that Pas was promised the YDP (Yang Dipertua - head) of the MAIPP if Pas won in Permatang Pasir by election.