IT was PAS who wanted an MCA candidate in the Tg Piai by-election, which saw Barisan Nasional (BN) win by a landslide, said Umno president Ahmad Zahid Hamidi.
Zahid said the request was made by PAS president Abdul Hadi Awang himself right after it was announced that the federal seat was vacant.
“Once Tg Piai was vacant, Hadi was the first to suggest to me to have someone from MCA stand in the by-election,” he said at the Muafakat Nasional Selangor ceramah in Shah Alam, Selangor last night.
Zahid said Hadi’s request was the perfect counter against accusations that the Islamist party is extremist and racist.
“And if Muafakat Nasional has been likened to the Taliban, which sidelines other races and religions, Hadi had proven that it is an open concept and should be appreciated by all races,” he told about 600 Umno and PAS members during the ceramah.
Zahid said Umno had also been accused of many things, just like PAS, even though the party had backed the move to field an MCA candidate in the by-election.
The former deputy prime minister also said placing an MCA candidate similarly meant Umno does not hold a narrow view on seat allocation for BN partners even though it is now cooperating with PAS.
“I recall the views of Umno Advisory Council chairman Tengku Razaleigh Hamzah, who urged Muafakat Nasional to consider MCA as well. Not because 42% (of Tg Piai voters) are Chinese, but to make sure Muafakat Nasional has a longer vision.
“Not just that, BN Advisory Board chairman Najib Razak had similar views, even though local grassroots leaders want to bank on Tg Piai’s 57% Malay voters by fielding an Umno candidate,” Zahid said.
BN won the Tg Piai by-election by a thumping 15,000 majority with MCA’s Wee Jeck Seng returning as the constituency’s MP.
Tg Piai was also the first by-election after Umno and PAS made their pact official on September 14, even though the two parties have been cooperating since the Sg Kandis by-election.
Hadi said the cooperation charter between the two parties will be the basis of their pact in the 15th general election.
Zahid also said he is confident that the alliance will bring great gains in GE15, much like what happened in Tg Piai.
He added that the opposition may even wrest back Selangor when it seizes Putrajaya in the next general election.