Defectors set for showdown

Safety issues: Filepic showing Sulaiman (left) in a discussion with Occupational Safety and Health Department director-general Zailee Dollah during a seminar. — Bernama

MELAKA: The two Umno defectors and an Independent assemblymen, who are among the four men who caused the fall of the state government, are preparing for the battle ahead once the state election is called.

“I will contest in the state polls and I am well prepared to face any criticism targeted at me after I exited the ruling state government,” said Sungai Udang assemblyman Datuk Seri Idris Haron.

He said he believed that personalities count in this election, adding that the electorate would not be swayed by the rhetoric of “old warhorses”, especially those who play the race and religion card.

“Voters will be able to distinguish between genuine and hypocritical candidates. They will vote in someone with a good personality,” he said in an interview.

Idris said he had yet to decide which political party he would be joining before offering himself as a candidate in the state polls.

Local pundits are speculating that Idris will go up against Melaka Umno stalwart Datuk Seri Mohamad Ali Mohamad should the latter join the fray.

Idris, Datuk Nor Azman Hassan (Pantai Kundor) and Datuk Noor Effandi Ahmad (Telok Mas), together with Independent assemblyman Datuk Norhizam Hassan Baktee (Pengkalan Batu), withdrew their support for the Barisan Nasional/Perikatan Nasional-led Melaka government on Oct 4.

The state government led by Datuk Seri Sulaiman Md Ali was left only with 13 seats in the 28-seat assembly.

This led to Yang di-Pertua Negeri Tun Dr Mohd Ali Rustam dissolving the legislative assembly.

Nor Azman said he would recontest in his own constituency.

“I will not run from my constituents. I will defend my seat as an incumbent,” he said, adding that he was “battle ready”.

Nor Azman said he had met leaders of various political parties and would decide which party to join when the state election draws close.

“For now, I am still an Independent. I am still continuing my services to my constituents.

“My voters know the reason why I defected after being loyal to Umno for some three decades,” he said.

He added that no one could claim his constituency was their party’s stronghold.

“I know the sentiments of the grassroots as I am always with them,” he said, claiming that he would open ‘Pandora’s box’ on mismanagement issues.

As for Norhizam, he said there was no turning back for him as he was ready to contest again.

“I will never give up. Remember, I am the ‘Hulk’. I want to tell my opponents to stop making me angry. Do not smear my reputation,” he said.

He became known as “YB Hulk” after a video clip of him emerged in 2018, showing him in a heated exchange with villagers in Bukit Beruang.

Back then, he was part of the Pakatan Harapan-led Melaka government.

Asked which party banner he would contest under, Norhizam replied that nothing had been finalised yet.

He voiced confidence of a victory even without a party, adding that he had chances of making a comeback.

“Please go and ask my constituents whether I have served them well,” he said.

As for Noor Effendi, he has stayed mum.

When The Star contacted him several days ago, he merely said: “Let me have a break.”

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