DAILY EXPRESS NEWS
BUTTERWORTH: Datuk Arif Shah Omar Shah, the defeated Brisan Nasional candidate in the Permatang Pauh by election is undecided whether to stay on in Umno or join the Pakatan Rakyat Penang State Government. The Seberang Jaya Assemblyman said he was seriously considering his future in Umno following what he described as the "blatant power abuses" by the Umno Permatang Pauh division leadership.
The two-term assemblyman, the only Yang Berhormat with an ISO 9001-certified service centre, is the only Umno candidate in the division who survived the March 8 general election. Arif Shah, who shot to fame after being picked to face Parti Keadilan Rakyat (PKR) adviser Datuk Seri Anwar Ibrahim for the Permatang Pauh parliamentary seat but lost, said he was still an Umno loyalist but was deeply disturbed by the behaviour of the division leaders. The oppression and abuse against me as a branch chief and an Umno assemblyman is despicable." Arif Shah claimed that and certain leaders at the divisional level had taken measures to demoralise him and denied his position as an Umno assemblyman. "They are behaving as if Umno belongs to them and not the members."
He said at a recent Permatang Pauh division committee meeting - of which he was not invited to attend - it was decided that an Umno assemblyman did not need to attend the meeting unless he was asked to do so by the division chief. "This is a blatant violation of power as the Umno constitution clearly states that an Umno assemblyman is required to attend divisional committee meetings." Arif Shah claimed that the last straw was when he received a letter from the division office last week informing him that Umno assemblymen were barred from making contact with branch leaders in the division without the knowledge of the division chief.
Arif Shah hoped the Umno disciplinary committee and state Umno liaison committee would thoroughly investigate reports on power abuse in the division. Arif Shah admitted that he had been approached by PKR leaders. Rumours are rife that he had been offered the deputy chief minister's I post.
Meanwhile, state Umno liaison committee deputy chairman Datuk Seri Abdul Rashid Abdullah advised Arif Shah to write to the state leadership if he was unhappy. "At least, we will have some basis for investigations," Rashid said. Rashid also warned Arif Shah to abide by the rules.
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