Malaysia election: PKR leader defies Anwar

Ridzuan Bani (right) is willing to sell his Mitsubishi Storm for RM20,000, to enable him to stand as an independent candidate in Tapah. He said the grassroots are on a fund-raising drive to raise enough money for his deposit on nomination day.

TAPAH, Malaysia - DISAPPOINTED with the leadership's choice of candidate for the Tapah parliamentary seat, Tapah PKR division chief Ridzuan Bani has offered to stand as an independent candidate.

His decision may force a three-cornered fight for the seat between him, Deputy Federal Territories and Urban Wellbeing Minister Datuk M. Saravanan of Barisan Nasional and former Hindraf leader K. Vasantha Kumar of PKR.

Ridzuan said it was pointless for him to give the national leadership time to make any changes to the candidates' list since it had refused to listen to the views of the grassroots in the first place.

"I had wanted to take a backseat and retire from politics after being active the past 15 years.

"However, I now feel compelled to contest as an independent after seeing the leadership's choice of candidate."

PKR de facto leader Datuk Seri Anwar Ibrahim had on Monday announced Vasantha Kumar as PKR's candidate for the Tapah parliamentary constituency.

In the 2008 general election, Saravanan defeated PKR's Tan Seng Toh with a 3,020 vote-majority.

Ridzuan, 49, who said he would not quit PKR, said this would be the first time he would be contesting in a general election.

"I am aware that the grassroots are on a fund-raising drive to raise enough money for my deposit on nomination day. They have raised RM3,000 to date.

"I am willing to sell my Mitsubishi Storm for RM20,000 to raise the remaining amount and for other expenses throughout the campaigning period and polling day."

Ridzuan said he had made known the division's displeasure on the choice of candidate to PKR secretary-general Datuk Saifuddin Nasution Ismail, hours before the official announcement was made.

"I had even spoken to Anwar on this. Sadly, none of them listened to us. It is too late to say anything now.

"As such, my decision to contest as an independent is final."

He admitted that the party's election machinery may be affected by the latest political development.

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