The upcoming Tanjung Piai by-election will be a referendum of the people’s support towards Pakatan Harapan versus the recently formed Muafakat Nasional, said Johor Umno chief Hasni Mohammad.
“The government needs to realise what they say and do will be judged by the people at Tanjung Piai.
“We will turn Tanjung Piai into a poll for the people to tell Harapan that they have failed and have disappointed the people.
“At the same time, this by-election is a referendum for Muafakat Nasional […] Through Muafakat Nasional, we will ensure that victory in Tanjung Piai would be an endorsement by the people who desire unity, harmony, and prosperity to be protected,’ said Hasni.
He said this in Tanjung Piai when announcing MCA’s Wee Jeck Seng as the BN candidate for the by-election on Nov 16, which was broadcast live through BN’s Facebook account.
Officially, Umno is part of the BN coalition with MCA and MIC. However, it is also part of a partnership with PAS known as Muafakat Nasional.
Asked about BN’s manifesto for the by-election, Hasni said BN will champion and explain every issue brought by the people.
“That’s why we feel that Tanjung Piai also means Tolak Pakatan Harapan (Reject Pakatan Harapan),” he said, to a round of applause.
'A litmus test'
Also present at the announcement were Jeck Seng, MCA president Wee Ka Siong, and Johor PAS deputy commissioner Mohd Mazri Yahya.
According to Mazri, PAS has no issues with BN’s choice of candidate because they too are driven by Jeck Seng’s “winnability factor”.
“We would support (Jeck Seng) on the basis of that factor because for us, this by-election is challenging; although it would not bring about a change in federal power, it could signal to Malaysians that today’s government has become fragile and can be toppled.
“This is a litmus test for us all and for Muafakat Nasional. If we succeed in defeating Harapan, God willing we will topple Harapan in the 15th general election,” he said.
Meanwhile, Hasni said Jeck Seng’s candidacy is proof that Muafakat Nasional is inclusive and pragmatic in not only in championing the interests of Malay-Muslims, but of all communities.
While acknowledging that some Umno grassroots members are dissatisfied with the decision, he said the decision had been made after carefully considering all factors.
“We have studied all matters, all aspects […] thus we synthesised all studies and people’s sentiments and decided that Jeck Seng is the best and most suitable candidate to represent BN,” Hasni said.
Jeck Seng had already been Tanjung Piai MP for two terms, prior to losing his seat to Bersatu’s Dr Mohd Farid Mohd Rafik in the last general election by less than 1,000 votes.
He will be facing Bersatu’s Tanjung Piai chief Karmaine Sardini and Gerakan deputy secretary-general Wendy Subramaniam in the by-election. Nomination day falls on Nov 2.
PAS is currently aligned with Umno and will not be contesting in the by-election.