Umno in search of local candidate to take on Hamzah Zainudin in GE15
UMNO needs a strong candidate to contest in the Larut parliamentary seat against its three-term incumbent, Hamzah Zainudin, who has defected to Bersatu, local leaders said.
Hamzah is in a strong position now as home minister in the Perikatan Nasional (PN) government.
Among the people considered for the job is Perak Menteri Besar Saarani Mohamad, who is also state Umno liaison chief.
Saarani, however, told The Malaysian Insight that Umno will be more likely field a local candidate against Hamzah in Larut.
What is certain, said Saarani, is that Umno needs a strong candidate to face Hamzah, who first won the seat in 2013 and has defended it since.
He was with Umno at the time, a Barisan Nasional (BN) candidate and was formerly domestic trade, cooperatives and consumerism deputy minister.
Hamzah quit Umno in December 2018, just months after BN’s defeat in the general election that year. His entry i DANGEROUSIT SHOULD BE nto Bersatu, along with six other defecting Umno MPs, was received by then party chairman and Pakatan Harapan (PH) prime minister Dr Mahathir Mohamad and was viewed with scepticism by other parties in PH.
Saarani added that Perak Umno wants to recapture all the parliamentary and state assembly seats it had originally won in the 14th general election, before its elected representatives left the party for Bersatu.
In Perak, apart from Larut, Umno also lost the Bukit Gantang and Bagan Serai parliamentary seats, as well as the Tualang Sekah and Sg Manik state seats to Bersatu, through defections.
“We will definitely take these back, they are our seats,” said Saarani.
Larut Umno division deputy chief Muhammad Amin Zakaria also told The Malaysian Insight that his party would place a strong local candidate to oppose Hamzah.
“We don’t know who yet, but it will be a strong local candidate.
“Hamzah has done a lot of things in Larut and invested (politically) a lot here. I think he will contest the seat again,” Amin said.
Hamzah won the Larut parliamentary seat in GE14 on a BN ticket after defeating PAS candidate Abu Husin Mohamad with a majority of 4,486 votes.
Hamzah has said he is ready to face his former party in defending Larut in the next general election.
Umno, at its annual general meeting at the end of March, had formally announced that it did not want to work with Bersatu in GE15.
It also decided to only support the PN government until it is instructed by the Umno Supreme Council not to do so – if the general election is not called.
Although Umno helped Bersatu form the PN government in February last year, and its ministers are still in the cabinet, the political cooperation has soured with Umno accusing the smaller Bersatu of side-lining it for positions, and for sabotaging it politically in the Sabah elections last September.
THE MALAYSIAN INSIGHT