PETALING JAYA: There appears to be a rift forming between Tian Chua and P. Prabakaran after the incumbent Batu MP posted pictures of his predecessor at a buka puasa function on social media.
The bone of contention appears to be Prabakaran’s tweet on May 14 about Tian Chua, whose full name is Chua Tian Chang, attending what appears to be a buka puasa event with Parti Pribumi Bersatu Malaysia and Parti Gerakan Malaysia logos in the background.
Prabakaran questioned if the photo was genuine and if so, what was discussed with others at the event.
However, he did not mention any names but drew a red circle around Tian Chua in the photo.
Tian Chua responded in a Facebook post on Saturday (May 14), telling him to stop his “defamation campaign”, claiming that Prabakaran was “spreading lies” about his attendance at the Bersatu event, which was “unethical and malicious”.
Tian Chua said that the event took place on April 25, 2021 and it was organised by an NGO with the cooperation of the Federal Territories Ministry.
“Praba’s own team member, Stephen Niles also attended the so-called ‘traitors’ dinner’,” said Tian Chua and attached a lengthy response from Niles about his attendance at the event last year.
He said that Prabakaran had also decided to contest against him for Batu division chief post in the PKR elections but welcomed this as a manifestation of party democracy.
He also said he did not know why Prabakaran had previously decided to contest the Batu parliamentary seat as an independent and go against PKR during GE14.
However, Tian Chua said he had decided to support him to “save the Batu seat”.
He also told Prabakaran not to bring the political culture of defaming others and personal attacks into PKR.
Tian Chua was disqualified from running for the Batu seat in GE14 due to a RM2,000 fine imposed on him by the Shah Alam High Court.
However, the High Court later ruled on Nov 6, 2019 – after GE14 – that Tian Chua in fact did not lose his eligibility and could contest in any election.
Prabakaran responded on Facebook, saying he was simply questioning the authenticity of the picture and did not intend to defame Tian Chua as claimed.
He also said Tian Chua had come to his house after the GE14 nomination process.
“I explained why I contested for the Batu seat. If I had malicious intent…Tian Chua would not have supported me.
Prabakaran added that he regretted that Tian Chua had “manipulated” his tweet by saying that it was an accusation when he was only questioning the authenticity of the photograph.
“I never stated it was a Bersatu event but it was clear from the screenshot that there was a question to be answered,” he said.
Prabakaran added that he had always upheld the party’s constitution and rejected the political culture of defamation or colluding with traitors.
He added that he would heed Tian Chua’s advice and be more careful in the future.