Zahid: Unity govt may field ousted rep for Nenggiri by-election

PUTRAJAYA: Rogue Kelantan lawmaker Mohd Azizi Abu Naim, who recently lost his Nenggiri state seat for supporting the unity government, could have a chance to reclaim the constituency if a by-election is indeed held.

“This is because the unity government may consider fielding him as its candidate,” said Barisan Nasional chairman Datuk Seri Dr Ahmad Zahid Hamidi.

He pointed out that it is a practice among unity government parties to give priority to an incumbent to contest in a by-election.

“This is something that can be negotiated and explored. At the same time, we may also want to field a candidate if a by-election is held,” he said to reporters yesterday.

Ahmad Zahid pointed out that in the last state election, the Barisan candidate had only lost by a margin of 800-odd votes.

“We are the underdog there. But we will still prepare for the eventuality that there will be a by-election,” he said.

On June 19, Kelantan state assembly Speaker Datuk Mohd Nik Amar Nik Abdullah declared that the seat held by Mohd Azizi is vacant after receiving a notice from Bersatu.

Mohd Azizi, who is Gua Musang MP, had earlier in the month lost his membership in Bersatu, an Opposition party, for failing to respond to an official letter requiring him to pledge his loyalty to the party by May 31.

Mohd Azizi, along with five other Bersatu MPs and a Selangor state lawmaker, had over the past year defied their party and declared support for leaders in the unity government.

Mohd Azizi said he would challenge the Kelantan Speaker’s decision in court.

In the state election held in August last year, Mohd Azizi won the Nenggiri seat under the PAS ticket by securing 6,517 votes and defeating Barisan’s Ab Aziz Yusoff by a 810-vote majority.

Ahmad Zahid said while Barisan respects the decision made by the Kelantan Legislative Assembly Speaker to declare the seat vacant, a potential court ruling on the status of the Nenggiri seat must also be respected.

“There are different views and opinions cited by political analysts and legal practitioners on the matter. Our stand is for the court to make a decision,” he added.

The Election Commission will meet on June 28 to decide on a potential Nenggiri by-election.

On the Sungai Bakap by-election in Penang, Ahmad Zahid said Barisan will ensure votes from the coalition will go to Pakatan Harapan, which is fielding a candidate.

“There are 5,105 Umno voters in the area and we will maximise efforts to get as many of them out for the unity government’s candidate,” he said.

Nomination for Sungai Bakap is today while polling is on July 6.

The seat fell vacant following the death of its assemblyman Nor Zamri Latiff of PAS on May 24.

The main contestants are former educator Dr Joohari Ariffin from Pakatan, who will represent the unity government, and Nor Zamri’s special officer Abidin Ismail, who is running under the Perikatan Nasional banner.

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Kelantan , Mohd Azizi Abu Naim , Nenggiri ,


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