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Tuesday February 10, 2009

PKR’s Arumugam quits as assemblyman and exco member

ALOR SETAR: Bukit Selambau state assemblyman and Pakatan Rakyat state executive councillor V. Arumugam has resigned as assemblyman and exco member, paving the way for a by-election amidst allegations linking him to a “marriage scandal”.

Arumugam, 54, an Independent candidate who won the Bukit Selambau state seat and subsequently joined PKR after the general election, is said to be embroiled in a morality issue for allegedly marrying another woman through customary rites without divorcing his wife.

Arumugam is said to be embroiled in a morality issue for allegedly marrying another woman through customary rites without divorcing his wife.

Mentri Besar Datuk Seri Azizan Abdul Razak said that Arumugam’s letter of resignation was submitted to Speaker Datuk Dr Abdul Isa Ismail at 5pm yesterday.

He said the letter was accompanied with a statutory declaration by Arumugam stating reasons for his decision to resign.

“The letter was handed in by a middleman. Until now, we do not know where Arumugam is. We believe he may be trying to find some peace in his life.”

Azizan said that in the statutory declaration, Arumugam alleged that he was constantly harassed by Barisan Nasional members who wanted him to leave Pakatan Rakyat and join the party.

“He also claimed that he and his family had also been harassed a number of times since last year’s general election despite declining the offers,” Azizan told a press conference here last night.

Earlier yesterday, Azizan told a press conference that Arumugam tendered his resignation letter as a state exco member to the Office of the Sultan of Kedah.

He reiterated that he did not receive such a memorandum and that he did not know the content.

Arumugam, who was the state Domestic, Trade and Consumer Affairs, Siamese Community, Unity, Estate Workers and Indian Community Affairs Committee chairman, was on a five-day holiday since last week and was supposed to resume work today.

Azizan said he would assume Arumugam’s portfolio pending a reshuffle of the state exco posts next month.

He said the Speaker would inform the state Election Commission on the vacancy today.

“Resigning is a normal practice in politics, but I am sorry that he had do it,” he said when asked if the state was confident to face a by-election.

State PKR chief Ahmad Kassim said that a meeting would be held in Merbok today to discuss preparations for the by-election.

He said party leaders would announce the candidate at a later date.

Arumugam was an unknown candidate whose victory over Kedah MIC secretary S. Krishnan in the March 8 general election took everyone by surprise.

A first-time politician, Arumugam was the sole Indian state assemblyman in the PAS-led government in Kedah.

The father of two was a trainer at the RMAF College here before entering politics.

Related story:
PKR: It’s just a mix-up, not a scandal

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