PETALING JAYA: PAS information chief Datuk Mahfuz Omar was at the receiving end of Barisan Nasional’s criticism for suggesting that Umno contest in the March 23 Kajang by-election instead of the MCA.
Leaders of component parties, who were furious with Mahfuz’s suggestion, told him to mind his own party business instead of meddling in Barisan affairs.
MCA deputy president Datuk Dr Wee Ka Siong described Mahfuz’s statement as a ploy by the Opposition to attack Barisan during campaign.
“If MCA does not contest in Kajang, DAP will criticise and make fun of us. On the other hand, we have PAS challenging Umno to contest. Whatever their plan is, we won’t fall into their trap.
“We will do things our way and we certainly don’t need their views on how we should run Barisan,” he said.
Mahfuz was reported to have said that Barisan would be “bullying” the MCA if it allowed the component party to contest in Kajang, adding that Umno should send a candidate to contest against the two other Malay candidates – PKR’s Datuk Seri Anwar Ibrahim and lawyer-turned-politician Datuk Zaid Ibrahim, who will stand as an Independent.
Umno supreme council members Datuk Shamsul Anuar Nasarah and Dr Puad Zarkashi also blasted Mahfuz, claiming that the PAS leader’s suggestion was meant to pit Umno against the MCA.
Shamsul Anuar said the decision on who to contest in Kajang would be made based on consensus among component parties and not to dance to the Opposition’s tune.
“I am convinced that Mahfuz made the statement to cause a strain in Umno-MCA relations. I think it is best that PAS look after its own affairs, get itself heard and be taken seriously by PKR and DAP rather than be used by its so-called friends,” he said.
Dr Puad also warned PAS against meddling in Barisan’s affairs, adding that the party should be more concerned over why it was not consulted over plans for Anwar to contest in Kajang and possibly become the new Selangor Mentri Besar.
“If PAS is strongly for Umno to contest in Kajang, then it should too. If it takes part in the by-election and wins, it will have the most number of seats (16 out of 56 in the Selangor assembly) and can demand for the mentri besar’s post instead of giving it to Anwar,” he said.
MIC secretary-general Datuk S. Murugesan said it was ironic that Mahfuz was “generous” with his opinion on who among Barisan components should contest in Kajang when neither he nor his party had any say on Pakatan matters.
“We have our own mechanism to determine who should contest in Kajang. Mahfuz’s statement is just an attempt to divert the people’s attention from PAS’ failure to be ‘involved’ in the wheeling and dealing in the opposition pact,” he added.