Penang former deputy chief minister Mohammad Fairus Khairuddin (pic) is reported to be having second thoughts about quitting as state assemblyman creating a huge poser as to whether the anticipated Penanti by-election will proceed.
The embattled Fairus yesteday effectively cleared of graft when Malaysian Anti-Corruption Commission said they do not have sufficient evidence to prosecute him for alleged involvement in illegal quarry dealings in Penang.
Fairus force to resign as Penang deputy chief minister 1 and Penanti assemblyman last week amid allegations over illegal quarrying operations.
He expressed confidence that the Pakatan Rakyat leadership would reassess his position.
“I’m sure the leadership will hear out what the people of Penanti have to say,” he told the New Straits Times in a telephone interview.
According to the national daily if Fairus plans to return as Penanti assemblyman, he has until Monday to get the Penang speaker to notify the Election Commission on the resignation retraction, as the EC has to announce the vacancy in 10 days after being given the notice of vacancy.
If he misses the date, even if he is keen to stay on, he will not be able to do so as the law prohibits elected representatives who have resigned to contest for the next five years.
If the EC is notified of his retraction before the deadline, there will be no by-election in Penanti.
“He has every right to change his mind and remain as assemblyman, as he was rightfully chosen by the voters in Penanti,” said EC deputy chairman Datuk Wan Ahmad Wan Omar.
On April 18, Prime Minister Najib Razak criticised the opposition for calling a by-election after Fairus announced his quit decision and said the poll will waste public money at a time of economic crisis.
He also said the coalition may not contest in the polls as it would be a waste of money, according to the Sunday Star newspaper.