JOHOR BARU: Johor Parti Pribumi Bersatu Malaysia (Bersatu) has played down the issue of president Tan Sri Muhyiddin Yassin's decision not to defend his Gambir state seat in the coming Johor state election.
State Bersatu information chief Mohd Solihan Badri said Muhyiddin, who is also Perikatan Nasional chairman, has requested the party's Ledang division leadership to hand over a list of qualified candidates to be given to him as the seat was under the division.
“As the division chief, I have identified a suitable candidate to replace Muhyiddin to stand in the Gambir seat as the individual has the qualifications besides being accepted among the grassroots,” he said in a statement here Wednesday (Jan 26).
He added that Muhyiddin’s decision not to defend the seat was because he wanted to focus on and give commitment to strengthening the party’s machinery to defeat Barisan Nasional this time around.
Solihan said without being bound as a candidate, the former prime minister can give his full focus in his duty to manage Perikatan’s machinery throughout the state.
“Muhyiddin’s stand is that the dominance of the Barisan government must end and Umno, which is the core of the coalition, will no longer be able to rise forever after the 15th general election (GE15),” he added.
He said Muhyiddin’s decision would not affect the performance or have a negative impact on Bersatu, but it would boost the strength of the party’s machinery to defeat Barisan in the state election.
Solihan also said Muhyiddin would have more time to focus on strategic planning and actions to strengthen Perikatan candidates' chances to win the election.
“Johor Bersatu is confident that as a politician and experienced party leader, Muhyiddin can bring victory to Perikatan candidates,” he added.
On Tuesday (Jan 25) night, Muhyiddin, who is also Pagoh MP, announced that he may not defend his Gambir state seat, which he has held since 2018.
He said the decision was made to allow more new faces to represent Perikatan in the coming state election as he wanted to concentrate on administrative matters at the central level and managing the party.
“I might not contest. But this is up to the leadership to decide (on candidates).
“I want to fully focus on things at the Parliament or central level and highlight the message of our (Perikatan’s) struggles and so on.
“So I want to give a chance to leaders in Johor and it is up to them who to field. We will decide later,” he told reporters when met before chairing a Bersatu meeting in Shah Alam Tuesday.
In the 14th General Election in 2018, Muhyiddin won the Gambir seat with a 3,088-vote majority over Barisan Nasional’s Datuk M. Asojan and PAS' Dr Mahfodz Mohamed.