SEREMBAN: Barisan Nasional will first need to decide if it will be contesting in the Port Dickson by-election before it picks a suitable candidate, Umno deputy president Datuk Seri Mohamad Hasan said.
It was pointless to speculate on who should take on PKR president-elect Datuk Seri Anwar Ibrahim before Barisan decided on whether it was contesting or not, the former Negri Sembilan mentri besar said.
“Barisan leaders have yet to meet to discuss the matter. Let them decide if they are participating or sitting out the by-election,” he said.
Social media has been abuzz with talk that Mohamad, a three-term mentri besar, is most suited to take on Anwar.
But Mohamad has ruled himself out, saying he would have to prepare for a by-election in Rantau if the Election Court decides in favour of a petition filed by PKR to nullify his win in the May 9 polls.
He then suggested that a local stood a better chance of winning in Port Dickson than an outsider.
“Barisan needs to explore all possibilities and groom younger leaders, who can be from Umno or Barisan,” he said.
Although MIC, which contested in Port Dickson (then known as Teluk Kemang) in previous elections, had said it would not be contesting, the decision could be reversed, he said.
In Putrajaya, Umno secretary-general Tan Sri Annuar Musa said the decision by MIC and PAS to sit out the Port Dickson by-election leaves Umno with “less complication” should it decide to contest.
However, Annuar said Umno was in no rush to make a decision. .
“We can do it next week or wait until the Election Commission comes out with the date,” he said when contacted.
The EC said it would meet soon to discuss the polling date.
PAS, which contested in Port Dickson in the May 9 polls, has also agreed to stay out this time to let Barisan take on Pakatan in a straight fight.
State MCA chairman Datuk Chong Sin Woon, when contacted, said it was too early to tell if the party would take part in the by-election.
“We will wait for the party central leadership to decide our next move,” he said.
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