ALOR SETAR: Time’s up for former prime minister Dr Mahathir Mohamad, says Nawawi Ahmad, named by Barisan Nasional today to face off with Dr Mahathir at the general election on May 9.
Nawawi said that while Mahathir’s mind was still sharp, age was catching up as the former premier approaches the century mark. Mahathir is 93.
“Definitely there will be limitations in terms of physical, mental and his ability to work. He may not be able to work for 24 hours a day, like younger people like us,” said Nawawi.
“We respect Dr Mahathir, but I believe Langkawi voters will choose a representative who can work for them day and night.
Nawawi will be fielded by BN for re-election to the Langawai parliamentary seat, while Mahathir, chairman of Pakatan Harapan, is being fielded for the first time in Langkawai, after being MP for Kubang Pasu for seven terms, from 1974-2008.
“I believe Langkawi voters will support BN, as we will be able to resolve issues affecting the rakyat,” he told reporters at Seri Mentaloon today, after he was nominated to be BN candidate.
Nawawi said he was happy to be entrusted by the party leadership to defend Langkawi and felt a sense of responsibility to ensure BN wins 3-0 in all seats on the island. Langkawi includes the state assembly seats of Ayer Hangat and Kuah, where Umno’s Mohd Rawi Abdul Hamid and Nor Saidi Nanyan also seek re-election.
Nawawi said it was undeniable that Mahathir had residual influence in Kedah, but this was not something major.
“We cannot deny that a certain section of people are unhappy and the blame the government. We also cannot rule out a strong opposition leader coming to support the people, hence the people are taking advantage of this.
“(But) as I see it, it may be slightly more than a ripple. There will not be a tsunami,” he said.
Kedah BN chairman Ahmad Bashah Md Hanipah said Nawawi was the right BN choice as he had been there for a long time. “Langkawi people are already asking why Mahathir is contesting in Langkawi and not in Kubang Pasu, as he had done so much for Kubang Pasu.
“So there is a question mark. There must be a reason. It could be that Kubang Pasu folks do not like him,” he said.
Ahmad Bashah was confident that Langkawi voters would “make the right decision” and return BN with a bigger majority.
In 2013, Nawawi won by 11,861 votes against PKR’s Ahmad Abdullah and an independent candidate.