KUALA LUMPUR, May 21 — The DAP today refuted a claim by former Penang PKR leader Mohammad Fairus Khairuddin that Malays in the state have migrated elsewhere after being sidelined by Pakatan Rakyat (PR), insisting instead that the community’s population had increased by over 30,000 since 2008.
Zairil Khir Johari, aide to Penang Chief Minister Lim Guan Eng, called Mohammad Fairus a “hypocrite” for issuing such a criticism against a government in which he had previously served as deputy chief minister I until 2009.
“I do not know what is Mohammad Fairus’ true agenda but it is clear that his statement has racial elements. If his logic of linking the migration of Malays to their being victimised is true, then does ... the migration of non-Malays from other states mean that they are being sidelined by their governments?” he asked in a statement here.
Mohammad Fairus, who had quit as DCM I and Penanti assemblyman following graft allegations in 2009, had said in a Berita Harian report that over 18,000 Penang Malays have left for other states between 2009 and 2010 as they could no longer bear the cost of living in Penang.
According to Mohammad Fairus, who is now an Umno member, this proved that Bumiputeras in Penang have been sidelined by the present administration led by Lim, who is also DAP secretary-general.
Mohammad Fairus had reportedly plucked the figures from the Penang Socio-Economic Research Centre (PreCISE), a unit formed by the Penang Malay Chambers of Commerce.
But Zairil said the results were doubtful as they differed from Penang’s current voter registry, which shows that, between 2008 and 2011, the state’s Malay voters increased from 247,141 in 2008 to 282,062 — a growth of 34,931.
The increase, he added, was nearly twice that of the 18,154 referred to in PreCISE’s study.
“If we look even closer, we can see that the number of Malay voters in other places like Balik Pulau and Bayan Baru had increased by 5,120 and 4,093, respectively.
“This show that the Malay community is still committed to strengthen their voice and involvement in Penang’s socio-economic development,” he said.
Zairil added that Mohammad Fairus’ suggestion lacked logic and was irresponsible, and said the latter was clearly finding ways to attack his former party after having failed to carry out his duties effectively when he had the opportunity to do so.
“Umno knows that all of PR policies are fair towards all, irrespective of ... race,” he said.