Malaysia Umno Youth chief Khairy Jamaluddin Abu Bakar was in Sabah yesterday to attend the Sabah Umno Youth meeting at the party's headquarters in Kota Kinabalu. He witnessed the handing over of duty between out-going acting State Umno Youth chief Nizam Titingan Abu Bakar to newly appointed head Azman Ruslan.
Speaking to reporters, Khairy said it would be a mockery for Barisan Nasional to contest in the Penanti by-election.
He said the youth supported the party's leadership decision not to field candidate in the by-election which had been fixed by the Election Commission to be held on May 31, 2009. Nomination day will be on May 23, 2009.
"This (not contesting) is to protest the opposition's act of belittling the nation's democratic system. Its not that BN is afraid. BN has never been afraid of the opposition, BN had contested in previous by-elections," he said.
The by-election is held after the resignation of Parti Keadilan Rakyat (PKR)assemblyman Mohammad Fairus Khairuddin, who was also Penang Deputy Chief Minister, on March 19, 2009.
In the March 8, 2008 general election, Mohammad defeated BN-Umno's Datuk Abdul Jalil Abdul Majid. He polled 7,346 votes while Abdul Jalil garnered 5,127 votes.
This will be the second time the voters in Penanti to go to the poll since the general elections last year.
A by-election was also held last year in the Permatang Pauh's parliamentary constituency when PKR president Datin Azizah resigned. Her husband Datuk Seri Anwar Ibrahim contested and won. Penanti is one of the state constituencies within Permatang Pauh.