Arif Shah: I can’t take this abuse any more December 1, 2008Posted by ibrahimbaba in Uncategorized.
BUTTERWORTH: A month after losing the Umno divisional chief battle, Datuk Arif Shah Omar Shah, who was the Barisan Nasional candidate in the Permatang Pauh by-election in August, admitted yesterday that he was facing the biggest dilemma in his political career.
The Seberang Jaya assemblyman (pictured right) said he was now at a crossroads between staying in Umno or joining the Pakatan Rakyat state government.
Arif Shah 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 in the March 8 general election.
In a tell-all telephone interview with the New Straits Times yesterday, Arif Shah said he could no longer stand the alleged abuses by division chief Datuk Abdul Jalil Abdul Majid.
Jalil had lost his Penanti state seat in the general election. Umno had also failed to wrest Permatang Pasir, the other state seat under the Permatang Pauh parliamentary constituency, from Pas.
Jalil, however, retained his Permatang Pauh division chief’s post in a three-cornered fight in October against Arif Shah and former division deputy chief Datuk Pirdaus Ismail, by a mere 18-vote majority.
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.
“I acknowledged his (Abdul Jalil) victory in the division election but the oppression and abuse against me as a branch chief and an Umno assemblyman is despicable.”
Arif Shah claimed that Jalil and certain leaders at the divisional level had taken measures to demoralise him and denied his position as an Umno assemblyman.
“After retaining his post, Jalil and his team have become very arrogant by adopting a ‘winner takes all’ attitude.
“They are behaving as if Umno belongs to them and not the members and they have gone to the extent of turning the division into Umno Sdn Bhd, with Jalil playing the role of a chief executive officer.”
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.
“How can I function effectively as an assemblyman under these circumstances?”
Arif Shah hoped the Umno disciplinary committee and state Umno liaison committee would thoroughly investigate reports on power abuse in the division.
He claimed that he had been previously deprived in many ways by Jalil but the recent “abuses” had forced him to reconsider his future in Umno.
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.
“I am an Umno loyalist and I have been with the party through thick and thin in serving the rakyat.
“However, the abuses and oppression of power by certain leaders at the divisional level are blatant insults to me, as a party member, an assemblyman as well as an individual.”
On rumours that he was spotted at the PKR convention in Shah Alam, Selangor, Arif Shah admitted that he was in Shah Alam but only to visit his son who was studying at the Universiti Teknologi Mara main campus.
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.
Asked if he was aware of any problems in the Permatang Pauh Umno division, Rashid said: “As far as I am concerned, I do not see any major problems which ought to be investigated.”
Rashid also warned Arif Shah to abide by the rules.
“If he is asked not to attend meetings, he should abide by it and understand the situation. I do not see any problems with that.”
When contacted, Jalil said he was not aware of any problems in the division.
“I don’t know anything. All I want to say is that he (Arif Shah) is an Umno member and an assemblyman… as if he doesn’t know the rules.”
Jalil added that Arif Shah was free to make any allegations.