Politics

Umno leaders dismiss criticisms over Wee’s candidacy in Tanjung Piai

Zaidi Azmi
Written by Zaidi Azmi

KUALA LUMPUR — October 31, 2019: Prickly, aptly describes the ongoing debate between Umno supporters who were at odds over the candidacy of MCA’s Datuk Seri Wee Jeck Seng in the coming Tanjung Piai by-election.

Airing their critical views over Barisan Nasional’s (BN) decision to field Wee on several BN friendly social media groups, some believed that a Malay candidate from Umno should have been chosen instead.

“I don’t get it. That place is a Malay majority constituency, why would BN chose MCA instead of Umno? What happened to Umno’s Malay unity agenda? Was it all mere hot air?” asked one of the critics, Yazid Yusuf on Facebook.

Yazid was one of those who echoed such a contention which seemed to hold water as Malays make up about 57 per cent of the total electors in Tanjung Piai, with Chinese being the second largest at 42 per cent while Indians make up only one per cent.

However, since the formation of the constituency in 2003, MCA had never lost its hold on Tanjung Piai — until last year’s May 9 national poll — when its two-term representative, Wee, lost to Pakatan Harapan’s Datuk Dr Md Farid Md Rafik of Pribumi Bersatu.

Wee’s candidacy was announced yesterday against the backdrop of a supposed call by certain quarters in Johor Umno to boycott Wee by way of not voting BN which has been reverberating through social media since last week.

While he was sympathetic to the naysayers’ criticisms against MCA, Bandar Tun Razak deputy division chief Adnan Seman believed that fielding Wee in Tanjung Piai would dispel the notion that the Umno-Pas unity made Umno even more Malay-centric.

“Ever since the Umno-Pas unity was brokered, Pakatan Harapan leaders, especially those from DAP, had been pushing the narrative that such a partnership is racist and will be bad for the non-Malays.

“Fielding an MCA candidate in Tanjung Piai will not only spoil DAP’s tactics to spook the non-Malays [against BN] but can also start the ripples of a multiracial rejection over Pakatan’s inability to properly govern the country,” said Adnan.

As it is, Wee seemed to be haunted by some of his controversial remarks  in the past, particularly regarding his vocal stand on Islamic matters which has been widely shared on social media following his candidacy announcement.

Two of his highlighted remarks were his 2011 chastisement of the Pas-led Kelantan government’s decision to outlaw all forms of gambling and his 2015 Facebook post where he wrote: “Defend the Constitution. I stand firmly against Islamic criminal law.”

“I’ve seen Pribumi Bersatu supporters using this racist tactics, since last night, just because BN decided to field a Chinese candidate. It is crystal clear who is the actual racist now,” said Umno Youth chief Datuk Dr Asyraf Wajdi Dusuki.

“Umno-Pas’ unity agenda is inclusive of all religions and races. I pray that Tanjung Piai will bear witness to the restoration of Malaysia’s national unity that had been severely damaged by Pakatan, especially the DAP,” he added.

The Tanjung Piai by-election will be held on November 16 and as it is, Wee will be contesting against Pakatan’s Karmaine Sardini of Pribumi Bersatu and Gerakan’s Wendy Subramaniam.

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About the author

Zaidi Azmi

Zaidi Azmi

If Zaidi Azmi isn’t busy finding his way in the city, this 26-year-old northern kampung boy can be found struggling to make sense of the Malaysian political scene. Zaidi can be reached at zaidiazmi91@gmail.com.