Penang Umno has denied claims that newly established Penang Front Party (PFP) is a Barisan Nasional (BN) friendly party.
Its chairman, Zainal Abidin Osman said Padang Besar MP Zahidi Zainul Abidin, who is also PFP adviser, was acting on personal capacity and not representing Umno.
He said the establishment of PFP and the appointment of Zahidi as adviser was never referred to the Umno supreme Council or Penang Umno.
PFP’s has announced plan to contest 25 seats in Penang contested by BN component parties other than Umno.
“This is against the concept of a Barisan Nasional (BN) friendly party,” said Zainal in a statement today.
On Monday, newspapers quoted Zahidi as saying that BN-friendly PFP plans to contest for 25 state seats in Penang.
Penang Umno regretted Zahidi had been used by PFP to undermine the cooperation and understanding among the BN component parties in Penang.
He said Zahidi’s willingness to become advisor of a party, which proposed the opening of a casino in Penang, was unacceptable and unethical for a MP.
“He should have been aware of the sensitivities of Muslims. Penang UMNO rejects the casino proposal,” he added.
Penang Umno deputy chairman Reezal Merican said the PFP proposal to open a casino did not consider the sensitivities of locals.
The deputy minister of foreign affairs said Penang was rich in tourism products and does not need a casino to attract tourists.
“Gambling is not a Malaysian culture, especially for Penangites. Non-Muslims are also against gambling as it can destroy families and society,” he said.
Penang Gerakan vice-chairman Oh Tong Keong also slammed PFP proposal to set up a casino, saying that it was not an unthinkable proposal from a political party.
“PFP could have proposed more low-cost and low-medium housing and better transportation for Penangites. Proposing a casino is unbecoming of a political party,” he said.
Political observer Azizi Safar suggested that PFP could be sponsored by the DAP to split BN component parties.
He recalled previously the DAP sponsored to form a NGO, Penang Malay Congress (PMC), to become a so-called a critical pressure group.
But, he said PMC was now dead and buried, as its members have formed another political party, namely People’ Alternative Party (PAP) headed by former DAP Malay leader Zulkifli Mohd Noor.
“It is not impossible, if the PFP is also a party sponsored by Penang DAP to destroy cooperation and understanding among the BN component parties in Penang,” said Azizi.
On Zahidi, he said it was unfortunate an Umno MP had either intentionally or unintentionally allowed himself to be used by those who set up the PFP.
Penang Front Party first emerged in 2014 during the Bukit Gelugor by-election.
PFP initially expressed a desire to put a candidate in the by-election but it did not happen.