Parti Pribumi Bersatu Malaysia (Bersatu) is eyeing three parliamentary seats in Penang – Kepala Batas, Tasek Gelugor and Balik Pulau.

According to Penang Bersatu chairperson Marzuki Yahaya, his party was ready to take on incumbents Umno, which he described as being “barely alive” in those areas.

“It is now up to the Pakatan Harapan presidential council to decide if we can have the seats. We have a very good chance due to the current political landscape not favouring Umno,” Marzuki said.

“We are ready for the seats also due to the good response we received when we visited the areas recently.”

He claimed that there are 31 parliamentary seats, including Kepala Batas and Tasek Gelugor, where Umno is under threat because the party won them with thin majorities in the last general election.

Marzuki said Rizal Merican Naina Merican won the Kepala Batas seat by securing 54.53 percent of the votes cast, while Shabudin Yahaya won Tasek Gelugor with 53.33 percent of the votes.

“Umno is also worried about another seat, Balik Pulau, currently held by deputy health minister Dr Hilmi Yahaya, as our party has already made massive inroads into the area,” he claimed.

Marzuki, a former Umno leader, said Bersatu and its chairperson Dr Mahathir Mohamad had been focusing efforts on these marginal seats.

“It is clear that Umno is currently at its weakest and should the elections be called now, they would be barely alive,” he said.

‘Bersatu is dreaming’

In an immediate response, Kepala Batas Umno division deputy chief Roslan Saidin said Marzuki does not know “the real political scenario” in his area.

Perhaps, Marzuki purposely refused to accept the reality of Umno’s strength in Kepala Batas, Roslan added.

Umno, he said, remained unmoved by Bersatu’s activities in Kepala Batas and in the other constituencies.

“Bersatu does not have qualified leaders in Kepala Batas and in the other constituencies as well. It will find it hard appointing suitable candidates, probably due to the little support for the party,” Roslan, the Pinang Tunggal assemblyperson, said in a statement.

“Their efforts to persuade former Umno leaders to join Bersatu also failed,” he added.

Roslan advised his “old friend” Marzuki to seek consent from Harapan before airing his ambitions.

“Get the agreement of your allies first before fantasising about contesting in the general election,” he added.

– M’kini