Feb 10, 2009 By : Noor Adzman Baharuddin and Adib Povera
V. Arumugam telephoned the menteri besar’s assistant to announce his decision to resign.
ALOR STAR: Hours after stepping down from the state executive council, Kedah Parti Keadilan Rakyat deputy chairman V. Arumugam dropped a second bombshell on the government by also stepping down as state assemblyman for Bukit Selambau.
Menteri Besar Datuk Seri Azizan Abdul Razak said Arumugam sent a two-page statutory declaration to him about 5pm yesterday.
Arumugam was State Domestic Trade and Consumer Affairs, Unity, Estate Workers and Indian and Siamese Communities' Affairs Committee chairman.
"Copies of the statutory declaration, made on Sunday, were also handed to Sultan of Kedah Sultan Abdul Halim Mua'dzam Shah and the Speaker Datuk Dr Abdul Isa Ismail," he said here at a hastily arranged news conference last night.
A third copy of the document, which Azizan said was certified by notary public, was sent to PKR de facto leader Datuk Seri Anwar Ibrahim.
Present were Abdul Isa and Kedah PKR chairman Ahmad Kassim, who is also MP for Kuala Kedah.
Arumugam's resignation, amid speculation that he was facing marital problems, paves the way for a by-election in the next 60 days. He has also been "incommunicado" since last Thursday, when news broke out over allegations that he had insulted the sultan by bringing his "second" wife to attend state functions..
The news conference was the second by Azizan in a span of six hours. He had earlier announced that the 54-year-old former trainer at the RMAF College here had announced his decision to quit the state executive council.
Azizan said Arumugam, who contested as an independent candidate in last March's general election, cited continuous threats on his and his family's safety and the constant pressure from Barisan Nasional agents, including an alleged RM5 million offer and a state exco post, for him to defect from the PKR as the main reasons for his decision.
"I feel sorry for him. He was a good friend, assemblyman and state exco. He just could not hack it anymore but this is normal for politicians and many have tendered their resignations and they have their reasons," he said.
On a candidate to contest in Bukit Selambau, he said he was leaving it to PKR to decide since the state seat was allocated to the party.
Asked on Arumugam's whereabouts, Azizan said he had no inkling. Ahmad also said he was unaware of the whereabouts of his party colleague.
Isa said he would inform the Election Commission of the vacancy in Bukit Selambau today.
At the last general election, Arumugam beat S. Krishnan (BN-MIC) by a 2,362-vote majority although Bukit Selambau was traditionally a BN stronghold.
The voters comprised 50.2 per cent Malays, 19.3 per cent Chinese and 29.5 per cent Indians. Arumugam was one of three state exco members from the PKR.
The others are Mohammad Radzhi Salleh (Lunas) and Tan Wei Shu (Bakar Arang).
The remaining two PKR state assemblymen are Lim Soo Nee (Kulim) and Tan Show Kang (Sidam). The sole DAP representative is Lee Guan Aik (Kota Darulaman).
Pakatan Rakyat wrested control in Kedah in the last general election after it won 22 seats in the state assembly to the BN's 14.