Zahid: Puad Zarkashi must accept reality

Zahid hopes Puad will not stand as an independent but will work to ensure a win for BN.

KUCHING: Barisan Nasional (BN) has not placed Mohd Puad Zarkashi as its candidate in Batu Pahat in the upcoming polls based on its assessment of the nation’s political landscape, including in the parliamentary constituency, Deputy Prime Minister Ahmad Zahid Hamidi said today.

He said the Batu Pahat Umno division head and Special Affairs Department (Jasa) director-general must accept the reality that the parliamentary constituency was in a critical state, with an erosion of support for BN.

He said by placing another candidate to contest there, BN hoped it could wrest the seat back from PKR.

He said if there was any protest over the decision and Puad wanted to contest on another ticket, “that is up to him”.

“But (if that happens) he is not showing a strong party spirit, even though he is a member of the Umno Supreme Council and director-general of Jasa,” he said.

“This is a democratic country, it is up to him,” Zahid, an Umno vice-president, told a press conference at the Kuching International Airport here after a working visit to Sarawak.

He was commenting on speculation that Puad may be contesting as an independent candidate in GE14 after his name was not included as a BN candidate in Johor.

Zahid said he himself had once faced bigger pressures, but as a “party man” his party spirit overruled everything else.

“If I was in his position (Puad), I will not leave the party, what more contest as an independent candidate,” he said.

Puad was BN’s Batu Pahat MP from 2008 to 2013.

Zahid said Puad did not win in the general election of 2013.

Commenting on BN’s preparations in Sarawak, he said the ruling coalition must be positive in its efforts to win the election, and although the state BN was currently facing some “intra-party” problems, this was normal in any general election.

‘Foreign agents with ill intent may have entered Malaysia’

On the possibility of foreign agents entering the country with malicious intent, Zahid said the government would continue to work to uncover if these agents entered the country using passports from countries with diplomatic ties with Malaysia.

Palestinian lecturer Fadi Al Batash was killed in Setapak on Saturday by two unidentified men on a motorcycle, who shot him at close range more than 10 times.

Palestine resistance movement Hamas has accused Mossad, Israel’s espionage and intelligence agency, of being behind the assassination. Israel has denied this.

“We know of one country in the Middle East which will employ any tactic to murder individuals from Palestine who are experts in certain fields, to prevent a Palestinian intifada or uprising,” Zahid said.