KUALA LUMPUR, Nov 5 — PKR deputy president Rafizi Ramli today welcome’s Chua Tian Chang candidacy in Batu as an independent even though it could jeopardise Pakatan Harapan’s chances to retain the city parliamentary seat.
Calling it part of a good democratic process, Rafizi said that everyone has a right to contest in elections and that Chua could even serve as motivation for other candidates, including their party’s official choice, P. Prabakaran.
“Tian Chua actually sent me a message last night, expressing his desire to compete and asking as long-time friends to understand that he wants to carve a new path but his commitment to reformation remains the same.
“In that sense, I welcome it. I hope Tian Chua can motivate other candidates like Prabakaran to do more work,” Rafizi said during a press conference that was also aired on social media channels after filing his nomination papers for the Pandan parliamentary seat.
Rafizi said if any action were to be taken against Chua for not toeing the party line, it would be after the elections.
“I don't want to jump the gun, but there is a process and we will leave that process to the party," he said.
He added that the days where politics in this country is monopolised by one or two groups are gone.
Rafizi’s remarks are contrary to those pronounced by PKR president Datuk Seri Anwar Ibrahim in Ipoh.
Anwar said Chua can consider himself sacked from the party after choosing to go against Prabakaran.
“It is unfortunate that he chose this path. He has been a dedicated reformist, but as a reformist, he shouldn’t have done this.
“So we have to take the necessary action. So those who contest as independent or leave the party will be automatically sacked," Anwar told reporters after filing his own nomination papers to contest in Tambun.
Chua, who was formerly a vice president in PKR, filed to contest Batu as an independent candidate earlier this morning, seeking to reclaim the seat he had represented for two terms from 2008.
He told reporters in Kuala Lumpur after his filing that he is ready to face any action by the PKR leadership.
Prabakaran who ran and won as an independent candidate in Election 2018 subsequently joined PKR and is now defending his seat against nine others in GE15.
Also in the fight for Batu are Barisan Nasional's Datuk A. Kohilan Pillay from MIC, Perikatan Nasional's Azhar Yahya from PAS, Parti Pejuang Tanah Air's Wan Azliana Wan Adnan, Parti Warisan Sabah's P. Naganathan, and Parti Rakyat Malaysia's Zulkifli Abd Fatah.
The three other independent candidates are lawyer and activist Siti Kasim, influencer Nur Fathiah Syazwana who is better known as Cleopatra and Too Cheng Huat.
Indian Taxi Group's SAI Mahendran who had planned to run as an independent too, took back his nomination papers after finding out that Chua was contesting.