Pressure mounting on BN candidate to withdraw

By Syed Jaymal Zahiid (Malaysian Insider)
PERMATANG PASIR, Aug 20 — The pressure on Barisan Nasional candidate Rohaizat Othman to withdraw is mounting following the revelation today by his former legal firm partner that the Umno politician was fully involved in the scandal that led to his disbarment.

Just minutes after Yusri Ishak surfaced at a press conference here to deny the allegations made by Umno leaders that he was the person who had failed to return RM161,000 in clients’ funds, Pakatan Rakyat leaders took full advantage of it, castigating Rohaizat’s integrity as a leader and demanding that he withdraw from contesting.
PAS vice-president Datuk Mahfuz Omar said he was “saddened and touched” by the revelations made by Yusri.
“I thought the days of friends backstabbing friends are over. I am saddened by the revelations made by Rohaizat’s partner. He is a brave man,” Mahfuz told a press conference held just after Yusri held his own today.
[Mahfuz wants the BN candidate to withdraw from contesting. — File pic]
Mahfuz wants the BN candidate to withdraw from contesting. — File pic
Yusri alleged that the money given by the Penang Rubber Smallholders Cooperative to Rohaizat’s firm to purchase a piece of land in Penang had been used to help the Umno candidate’s friends and also to manage the firm’s branch in Ipoh.
Rohaizat’s former partner further claimed all the transactions were done with the firm’s headquarters in Butterworth which was under Rohaizat’s care and that he was only in charge of the Ipoh branch so there was no way that he could have not been involved.
It is only appropriate that Rohaizat withdraw from contesting following the expose, said Mahfuz, adding added that to continue with the by-election would only add on to the embarrassment Umno has already faced so far.
“Don’t insult the people of Permatang Pasir by fielding a candidate with questionable integrity,” blasted the PAS leader.
The scandal is set to pick up more pace after Mahfuz, making his intentions clear that he will continue to pressure the Umno man until he withdraws, claimed to have more evidence of Rohaizat’s alleged misconduct and is considering exposing it but only after consulting with other party leaders tonight.
Rohaizat was disbarred last year after he was found guilty by the Bar Council’s disciplinary board for misconduct after failing to return the money to the cooperative.
The Bar Council has clarified that Rohaizat had been found guilty of personal misconduct and had lost his appeal against the decision in the High Court last Wednesday, five days before Umno nominated him for the by-election.
His candidacy has become a major embarrassment for Umno as it brings up questions about the party’s vetting process.