KUALA LUMPUR: The Barisan Nasional candidate for the Tanjung Piai by-election will be announced at the coalition’s command centre in Tanjung Piai after 8.30pm today.
“If we announce now, there will be no more suspense tomorrow night. Listen to it tomorrow. I think this matter (the candidate) is not hard to guess, ” MCA president Datuk Seri Dr Wee Ka Siong (pic) told reporters at the Parliament lobby yesterday.
Appearing in a jovial mood, Dr Wee said the candidacy was finalised after a meeting with Barisan component party leaders including Umno president Datuk Seri Dr Ahmad Zahid Hamidi and MIC president Tan Sri S.A. Vigneswaran.
“We have made a decision, so just wait for the announcement, ” Dr Wee, who is also Ayer Hitam MP, added.
Tanjung Piai MCA division chief Datuk Seri Dr Wee Jeck Seng, who lost by 524 votes to Pakatan Harapan’s Datuk Dr Md Farid Md Rafik in GE14, is widely tipped to be Barisan’s contender for the by-election.
The death of Dr Farid, 42, on Sept 21 triggered the by-election.
On Monday, Pakatan announced architect and Tanjung Piai Parti Pribumi Bersatu Malaysia division chief Karmaine Sardini, 66, as its candidate.
Gerakan, which quit Barisan after GE14, is joining in the fray by fielding its deputy secretary-general Wendy Subramaniam, 38, a lawyer.
Earlier, in Parliament yesterday, Opposition leader Datuk Seri Ismail Sabri Yaakob said Barisan had decided on its candidate for Tanjung Piai, putting to rest speculation of an internal squabble between Umno and MCA over the candidacy.
“No such thing (the internal spat). Yesterday (Monday) was the launch of the Barisan machinery and we did not want to do two things at the same time. We already have a decision, ” he said.
Ismail expressed confidence that Barisan’s candidate could wrest the seat from Pakatan, citing the people’s general unhappiness with the government.
The Umno vice-president said Barisan would name a candidate younger than Pakatan’s choice.
“Pakatan’s candidate is already 66, yet the coalition is harping on about Malaysia Baharu, which, by right, should give more opportunities for the youth to lead.
“We had heard the candidate was a pilot but suddenly, they named a pensioner. Barisan’s candidate will definitely be younger, ” he told reporters at Parliament.
Ismail noted that Tanjung Piai voters comprised fishermen and the rural community, who he said were sidelined by the government in the recently announced Budget 2020.
Separately, former deputy minister Datuk Seri Ahmad Maslan said he was confident that Chinese support would return to Barisan.
Ahmad said many Chinese businessmen were disgruntled with the Pakatan administration due to the sluggish economy.
During GE14, Karmaine, who contested the Pontian parliamentary seat, lost to Ahmad by more than 800 votes.
Ahmad attributed the razor-thin majority to the lack of Chinese support and the 2018 redelineation exercise.
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