KUCHING, April 24 2018 : The decision not to put Jasa director-general Datuk Dr Mohd Puad Zarkashi as Barisan Nasional (BN) candidate in Batu Pahat in the 14th general election (GE14) was based on an assessment of the political landscape throughout the country, including in Batu Pahat.
Deputy Prime Minister Datuk Seri Dr Ahmad Zahid Hamidi said the Batu Pahat Umno division head must accept the reality that the constituency was in a critical state with an erosion of support for BN.
He said by placing another candidate to contest in the parliamentary constituency, BN hoped it could wrest it back from PKR.
“…but if the district voting centre is temporarily closed due to protests and he wants to contest on any ticket, that is up to him,” he said in a press conference held after his working visit to Sarawak at the VIP room in the Kuching International Airport here yesterday.
“…but (if that happens) he is not showing a strong party spirit even though he is a member of the UMNO Supreme Council and director-general of Jasa. This is a democratic country, it is up to him,” he said.
He was commenting on speculations that Mohd Puad may be contesting as an independent candidate in GE14 after his name was not included as BN candidate in Johor.
Ahmad Zahid said he himself had once faced bigger pressures, but as a ‘party man’ his party spirit overruled everything else.
“If I was in his position (Puad), I will not leave the party, what more contest as an independent candidate,” he said.
Zahid said in 2013, Mohd Puad contested in the Batu Pahat parliamentary constituency, but did not win, and he had also been made senator and Deputy Education Minister.
Commenting on the preparations of the GE in Sarawak, Ahmad Zahid said BN must be positive in its efforts to win the election, and although the state BN was currently facing some ‘intra-party’ problems, this was normal in any general election.
On the possibility of foreign agents entering the country with malicious intent, Ahmad Zahid said the government would continue to work to uncover if these agents entered the country using passports from countries with diplomatic ties with Malaysia.
“I am confident that although it may be difficult but it is not impossible, and in the end, the truth will come out. We know of one country in the Middle East which will employ any tactic to murder individuals from Palestine who are experts in certain fields, to prevent a Palestinian intifada or uprising,” he said.
“We know that Palestinians are spread out all over the world as professionals and academicians, because their rights have been denied by a country which is their enemy,” he said.
Ahmad Zahid said the murder of a Palestinian national in Sentul recently also occurred in European countries, committed on Palestinians who were earning a living there, and he was confident that police would charge those responsible for the murder case in Sentul.
Earlier, Ahmad Zahid presented a RM1-million contribution to four Chinese schools, namely Tadika Sekolah SJK Chung Hua Batu 7 Matang; SJK Chung Hua Batu 11, Matang; SJK Chung Hua Batu 35, Serian division; and SJK Chung Hua Syn San Too, Padawan near here. – Bernama