Anwar says Tian Chua faces the sack, Rafizi says not just yet

KUALA LUMPUR : A contrasting message has come out of the PKR camp today on how the party planned to handle its former vice-president Tian Chua's move to stand as an independent candidate in the Batu parliamentary constituency.

In Ipoh, PKR president Datuk Seri Anwar Ibrahim made it clear that any party member who contests in the general election as an independent candidate would face the sack.

However, over here Anwar's deputy Rafizi Ramli said no action will be taken against Tian Chua just yet.

He said Tian Chua had actually received his blessing to contest as an independent.

He said this was because the party had decided to temporarily suspend its disciplinary board to focus on the general election (GE).

"There is a due process, I don't want to jump the gun, we leave the process to the party.

"That will happen after GE as in a central meeting in August, the party had decided to temporarily suspend the disciplinary board to focus on GE," he told a press conference, here, today.

Former Batu member of parliament Tian Chua today returned to contest for the seat despite not being nominated as a candidate by his party.

He told reporters that he had yet to quit PKR and is ready to accept any action by the party.

Incumbent Batu MP P. Prabakaran is PKR's candidate for the seat in GE15.

Earlier, a news portal quoted Tian Chua as saying that despite contesting as an independent he was "always with Pakatan Harapan and PKR" in spirit.

"This is a party I have a strong emotional attachment to. I love and support all PKR leaders despite the internal differences that we have," he was quoted as saying.

He said that the composition of Batu voters had increased by over 30,000 since 2018 with a rise in Malay voters.

This, he said, could cause a problem to Prabakaran, who won the seat in the last general election after contesting as an independent before joining PKR.

He said Prabakaran must "earn his own mandate" in the coming election, pointing out that the latter only won the Batu seat by a majority of 13,687 votes in 2018 due to his endorsement of the newcomer.

Tian Chua was the Batu MP for three terms from 2008 to 2018 but failed to defend his seat in GE14 after he was disqualified on nomination day.

The Batu seat will be a contest among 10 candidates, with big names like MIC vice-president A Kohilan Pillay (Barisan Nasional) and Gerak Independent's Siti Kasim in the fray.

Other candidates include Azhar Yahya from Perikatan Nasional, P Naganathan (Warisan) and Wan Azliana Wan Adnan (Pejuang).

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