Sacked duo carry on in by-election

PETALING JAYA: Although they have been sacked from Umno, the independent candidates in the Chempaka by-election, Shariff Mahmood and Tengku Fadzilah Husin, will soldier on.

Shariff said he understood the party’s decision to sack him but claimed that he was no longer a member even before action was taken against him.

“I checked the status of my membership last year and I was surprised that I was not in the list. I was told my name had been removed when Umno did a ‘cleaning-up exercise’ on its inactive members.

“I was surprised when I was informed of my recent sacking because for the past year or so, I thought I was no longer a party member,” the 59-year-old pensioner said.

He did not play an active role in the party after he was ousted as Gua Musang division deputy chief in 1998 but remained a member.

Tengku Fadzilah said that being sacked from Umno was a price she had to pay “in the name of a greater cause”.

“I am sad but I need to contest because someone has to champion the cause of the Malays and Rulers. As president of the Association of the Royal Descendants of Cik Siti Wan Kembang, I must carry on the trust of ‘bonda’ (mother),” she said, referring to Cik Siti Wan Kembang, a legendary queen said to have reigned over a region in the east coast, including Kelantan.

Tengku Fadzilah, who was a member of Tumpat division, said that although her chances of winning were remote and that she was likely to even lose her deposit, contesting in the Chempaka election was something she felt strongly about.

“I understand what Umno had to do. My sacking was in accordance with the party constitution. I will think about my future with Umno later but for now, I have to do this for the sake of my fellow Kelantanese,” said the 64-year-old businesswoman.

On Wednesday, Umno announced the sacking of Shariff and Tengku Fadzilah for their involvement in the by-election.

Apart from the two, the seat – which fell vacant following the death of former Mentri Besar and PAS Mursyidul Am Datuk Nik Aziz Nik Mat on Feb 12 – is being contested by three others.

They are PAS candidate Ahmad Fathan Mahmood and independents Aslah Mamat and Izat Bukhari Ismail Bukhari.

Polling is on March 22.