‘Win is a sign people want Barisan back’

SEREMBAN: The thumping win by Barisan Nasional’s Datuk Seri Mohamad Hasan in the Rantau by-election shows the winds of change among those who voted for Pakatan Harapan in the last general election, say Barisan top leaders.

Barisan chairman and Umno president Datuk Seri Dr Ahmad Zahid Hamidi said this third straight win by Barisan was proof that Pakatan has been rejected by the majority of voters.

“The win by Tok Mat (as Moha­mad is popularly known) is a strong message to Pakatan. The voters now seem to have repented for having wrongly voted in Pakatan in the last general election.

“Tok Mat is the most suitable state assemblyman for Rantau and the locals voted him in, although it is always a risk to vote for the opposition,” said Ahmad Zahid, who is currently on leave as the Barisan and Umno chief.

Mohamad, who is also Umno deputy president, won Rantau with a majority of 4,510 votes in the by-­election yesterday.

He had held the state seat for the past three terms and was also the Negri Sembilan mentri besar before the takeover by Pakatan after the 14th General Election.

Former Umno vice-president and defence minister Datuk Seri His­ham­­muddin Hussein, who was in Rantau campaigning for Mohamad, expressed delight at the latter retaining his seat.

“These three consecutive wins give Umno and Barisan the spirit to work harder. God willing, our ground machinery will maintain this strength for future by-elections.

“But my advice is to not be arrogant as we still have to work harder to win back the rakyat’s confidence,” said Hishammuddin.

MIC president Tan Sri S. Vignes­waran said Barisan’s victory showed that the people had chosen the candidate who spoke up and did much for them.

“The grassroots voted to send their message to the government that they are not happy with the Pakatan government. We may be confident with Prime Minister Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad for being experienced but the rest of the Pakatan leaders are not performing.

“The Indian votes given to Mohamad also showed that the campaigning by Pakatan along racial lines was rejected.

“This win marks a rise in the momentum of the people wanting Barisan back,” he added.

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