PETALING JAYA: A challenge has been thrown to Parti Pribumi Bersatu Malaysia founding leaders, Muhyiddin Yassin and Mukhriz Mahathir, to contest in parliamentary seats they had won previously under the Barisan Nasional, the Malay Mail Online (MMO) reported today.
Tourism and Culture Minister Nazri Aziz dared the former Umno leaders to put their name on the ballot in Pagoh (Johor), where Muhyiddin is the current MP, and Jerlun (Kedah) which Mukhriz won in the 2008 general election (GE12) before giving it up for a state seat in GE13.
This would prove if they had won previously on their own merit or only because they were part of Umno, Nazri told the news portal.
“If you want to talk about honour, if I am going to contest in the next general election, I will certainly want to contest in the seat which I have been elected in many times.
“They (Muhyiddin and Mukhriz) should contest in the seats which they won in the past, since they supposedly have grassroots support there,” Nazri was quoted as saying by MMO.
The Umno Supreme Council member then suggested that both Muhyiddin and Mukhriz would lose if they decided to contest the same seats in GE14, saying they only won there previously, because of Umno’s support.
“If I wanted to prove that I won the seat not because of Umno, I would contest the same seat again.
“But in Muhyiddin and Mukhriz’s case, they won because people voted for Umno and at the time, they represented the party,” MMO quoted him as saying.
Muhyiddin, who is the Bersatu protem president, won the Pagoh parliamentary seat as far back as 1978. He then contested in a state seat in the next three general elections in order to become the Johor menteri besar.
Muhyiddin returned to Pagoh in 1995 prior to his appointment in the Federal Cabinet. He has held the seat since.
Mukhriz served as a one-term MP for Jerlun after winning the seat in 2008, but is currently the state assemblyman for Ayer Hitam.
It was reported last month that Bersatu leaders are hoping to contest in several PAS and PKR areas, and were hoping to negotiate with both Federal Opposition parties on the issue.
Muhyiddin had said that the aim was for his party to be a part of a coalition to remove Barisan Nasional (BN) from power and to form a new government, MMO had reported.