JOHOR BARU: It does not matter whether it is MCA or Umno which is contesting in the Tanjung Piai by-election as long as Barisan Nasional defeats Pakatan Harapan, says Datuk Seri Dr Ahmad Zahid Hamidi (pic).
Saying that the spirit of the coalition must be upheld at all times, the Barisan chairman said the decision on whether MCA or Umno contests in the polls should be based on consensus.
“The Barisan supreme council meeting will be the place for us to finalise who will be our candidate for the Tanjung Piai by-election.
“We know that the incumbent (Pakatan Harapan) was supposed to announce its candidate on Friday but it only said that Parti Pribumi Bersatu Malaysia (Bersatu) was to contest the by-election, ” he said.
He said it is a smart move by the state Umno and Barisan not to name the candidate as a field study will first be conducted to choose the ideal person.
Ahmad Zahid, who is also Umno president, was speaking to reporters after launching the Johor Umno convention here yesterday.
Also present were MCA president Datuk Seri Dr Wee Ka Siong, Johor MIC chairman R. Vidyanathan and state deputy PAS commissioner Khairul Faizi Ahmad Kamil.
Ahmad Zahid said the supreme council meeting will be held soon for Barisan to announce its candidate before Nov 2, which is the nomination date fixed for the by-election.
“MCA should be open minded just like MIC was for the Cameron Highlands by-election, in which I am not ruling out all possibilities.
“But what is important for us is to beat Pakatan and help our candidate to win, which should be our target, ” he said, adding that he is confident of Barisan winning the seat.
During the event, Ahmad Zahid also announced Johor Umno chief Datuk Hasni Mohammad as Barisan election director and Tanjung Piai Umno chief Datuk Jefridin Atan as its operations director.
At a function later in Kuala Lumpur, Dr Wee said he has informed Ahmad Zahid that MCA wanted to contest in Tanjung Piai.
He said Barisan always practised consensus in their decisions and all component parties will work to ensure the coalition’s victory once they decide who to field.
“We (Barisan) are for inclusiveness, moderation and tolerance all the while, ” Dr Wee said, adding that the racial composition in any seat will not be the only factor in deciding the candidacy.
The Ayer Hitam MP, who is also Johor MCA chairman, said Malaysia is for all Malaysians.
The Tanjung Piai seat fell vacant after the death of its MP Datuk Dr Md Farid Md Rafik on Sept 21 from complications following a heart attack.
Dr Md Farid, 42, who was also Tanjung Piai Bersatu vice-chief, won the seat in the last general election after beating MCA’s Datuk Seri Wee Jeck Seng and PAS’ Nordin Othman by 524 votes.
The Election Commission announced that polling would be on Nov 16 and early voting on Nov 12.