LIPIS, July 23 2017 : The aspiration of Parti Pribumi Bersatu Malaysia (PPBM) chairman Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad to contest in the Pekan parliamentary constituency at the 14th General Election (GE14) has been described as a populist statement.
Umno vice-president Datuk Seri Hishammuddin Hussein said the statement was deliberately issued when the Umno divisional delegates’ meetings were being actively held and was aimed at disturbing the party members’ focus.
“I see it’s a populist statement, I challenge him to contest in Pekan. If he dares to, I myself, Datuk Dr Ahmad Zahid Hamidi and the whole Barisan Nasional’s leadership will go down there to defend the prime minister’s (Datuk Seri Najib Razak) position as party president … so go ahead, if you dare,” he said.
He was speaking at a media conference to reporters after opening the Cameron Highlands Umno division delegates meeting at Sungai Koyan, here today.
The media conference was also attended by Cameron Highlands Umno division chief and State Housing and Municipal Committee chairman Wan Rosdy Wan Ismail and state Umno liaison committee representative Datuk Seri Shahiruddin Ab Moin.
Hishammuddin said this when asked to comment on the aspiration of the former prime minister who wanted to contest in Pekan against Najib if necessary and if no other candidate were considered qualified.
While commenting on PKR vice-president Rafizi Ramli’s statement that the current support of the Malay voters for Pakatan Harapan was found to be more than for BN with the advent of GE14, he said the issue raised was not a new thing.
“Rafizi always made various statements, but when his statement is answered he would move the goal post. He deliberately throws out issues to see our reactions.
“For me the statement is only an assumption that is deliberately raised especially before the impending GE14,” he said.
Touching on the wishes of the division’s Umno delegates who wanted a representative from the party to replace the MIC to contest for Barisan Nasional (BN) in the upcoming GE14, Hishammuddin said the proposal would be taken to the top leadership level for scrutiny.
“We have to look for candidates who are acceptable to the people, and what is important in the present situation, members in this hall (conference) alone are not able to make our candidates win.
“Without the support of all, we will not be able to win in multi-racial areas, but I assure them, whatever the decision of the leadership will be for the sake of the party,” he said.
Wan Rosdy, in his speech earlier, said 39 out of 40 branches in the division wanted an Umno candidate to contest in the Cameron Highlands parliamentary constituency.
It is based on the number of Malay and Orang Asli voters who represent 55 percent and BN’s candidate from MIC Datuk Seri G Palanivel’s victory in the last general election, was assisted by a high majority in the Jelai State Assembly seat after BN lost in the Tanah Rata state seat. – Bernama