THE Tanjung Piai Umno division wants to contest the pending parliamentary by-election in the constituency and is hoping ally MCA will give up its traditional seat.
Division chief Jefridin Atan told The Malaysian Insight that his party and the Malays in the constituency had been claiming the seat for a long time but had previously given it to MCA due to a political understanding at national level between the two parties.
He also revealed that in the last general election, the Umno voters of Tanjung Piai were unhappy with the party decision to hand the seat back to MCA, resulting in them revolting at the ballot box.
“This is why the BN/MCA candidate lost in GE14. The party members here demanded they be given the seat but the leadership ignored their calls. As a result they voted for the opposition.
“Now it is time for the seat to be returned to us as the voters here are ready to back us,” he said.
The seat fell vacant following the sudden death yesterday of its incumbent, Dr Md Farid Md Rafik from Bersatu.
Farid, 42, died in Pontion Hospital, Johor, believed due to a heart attack. He was the Tanjung Piai Bersatu vice-chief.
He won the seat at the last general election by defeating Wee Jeck Seng of MCA with a majority of 524 votes.
In a three-cornered fight, Farid garnered 21,255 votes while Wee gained 20,731 votes. PAS’s Nordin Othman managed to win 2,962 votes.
Wee had held the seat since 2008. Before that, it was held by Ong Ka Ting.
Umno feels it can win the seat in the by-election following its recent pact with PAS.
Jefridin said the proportion of Malay voters in the constituency had increased to 57% now, compared with 51% in 2004.
“While the final decision is up to the leadership, we need to accept the fact that majority of the voters here are Malays.
“MCA had held this seat for a long time, for about 20 years in all,” he said.
“When we see an increase in Malay voters, the Malays want this seat,” he added.
He also said that Umno would not be sidelining MCA by taking back the seat, adding that this was only for the by-election.
“When it comes to general election, we can look back at the larger national agenda in division of seats,” he said.
Yesterday, Umno president Ahmad Zahid Hamidi said the party will discuss with its BN partners on who should contest in the Tanjung Piai by-election.
Johor Bersatu says confident of defending Tg Piai after MP’s death
“There has been a previous consensus between all component parties within Pakatan Harapan (PH) that the Tanjung Piai parliamentary seat belongs to Bersatu.
“So, there is already an agreement within our partners in Pakatan on the matter,” said Mazlan when contacted today.
He was asked if Bersatu would be defending the seat or it would be contested by any one of the PH component parties.
The Tanjung Piai parliamentary constituency, a known MCA stronghold in the past, was traditionally contested by DAP since 2004.
However, for the previous general election last year, the seat was given to Bersatu in an agreement within PH where they won it from Barisan Nasional (BN).
On PH preparations for the expected by-election, Mazlan said there will be an initial meeting to assess the situation in Tanjung Piai that will be chaired by Johor PH chairman Tan Sri Muhyiddin Yassin, who is also Bersatu president and the home minister.
“At present, Tan Sri is away on a working trip in the United States and is expected to return in the next two days’ time where PH Johor will hold a meeting on Tanjung Piai,” he said, referring to Muhyiddin.
“The meeting would involve touching on the voters’ sentiments for the Tanjung Piai constituency, as well as collecting relevant data and statistics from the previous general election,” said Mazlan, who is also the Puteri Wangsa assemblyman and also Tebrau Bersatu division chief.
Mazlan said that the state PH will hold a separate meeting on preparing a list of potential candidates to contest for Tanjung Piai.
However, he said this would depend on the input as well as understanding from the other PH component parties.
It was reported earlier today that the Election Commission (EC) is expected to issue a statement on the newly-vacant parliamentary seat located in the southern state by tomorrow.
The Tanjung Piai seat fell vacant following the sudden death of Dr Md Farid, who is also a Deputy Minister in the Prime Minister’s Department, early yesterday morning.
The 42-year-old died at the Pontian Hospital due to a heart attack at 6am.
In the 14th general election Dr Md Farid, who is the Tanjung Piai Bersatu deputy chief, won the seat from MCA by a 524-vote majority when he beat Datuk Seri Wee Jeck Seng.
– Malay Mail