KOTA BARU: Kelantan Umno has left it to the Prime Minister whether Datuk Seri Mustapa Mohamed should contest both state and parliamentary seats in the upcoming general election.
Mustapa contested and won both the Air Lanas state seat and Jeli parliamentary seat in the 2004 and 2013 general elections.
Kelantan Umno secretary Datuk Hanafi Mamat said whether or not Mustapa would go for a hattrick by contesting double seats depended on Datuk Seri Najib Tun Razak.
“It is the Prime Minister’s prerogative. But we certainly want Tok Pa (as Mustapa is fondly called) to continue playing a significant role in politics, as he has done a lot to improve the infrastructure in Kelantan and increase job opportunities for the locals while remaining focused on improving international trade,” he said.
Mustapa, 67, who is also International Trade and Industry Minister, has served in various ministries, including Finance, Higher Education, Agriculture and Agro-based Industry, and Entrepreneur Development.
Barisan Nasional previously fielded Mustapa in both seats as he was seen as a potential mentri besar if the coalition succeeded in wresting control of Kelantan from PAS.
Hanafi said the chances of votes swinging in favour of Barisan were high.
“Our ground survey shows that even outstation Kelantanese would likely vote in favour of Barisan, as they can see how much the coalition can do to help their parents, grandparents and families enjoy a better life,” he said.
Malaysian Political Analysis Institute (Mapan) director Dr Kamarul Zaman Yusoff said if Umno was serious in wresting control of Kelantan from PAS, it should announce its mentri besar candidate.
“The candidate should contest only a state seat, and the person should be likeable enough to spark fear among Kelantanese that his political career would be at stake if he fails to win. That is the kind of sentiment DAP’s Lim Kit Siang plays to make inroads into enemy turf,” he added.
PAS was the biggest winner in Kelantan at the last general election, sweeping 32 state seats, while Umno won 12 and PKR only one.
PAS’ number of state seats was reduced to 31 after it sacked Salor assemblyman Husam Musa from the party.
Dr Kamarul said despite Parti Amanah Negara and Parti Pribumi Bersatu Malaysia forcing multi-cornered fights, the real battle in Kelantan would be between traditional rivals PAS and Umno.