Wan Saiful has no chance in Pendang, says Umno

Though PPBM’s Wan Saiful Wan Jan is from nearby Alor Setar, would Pendang voters accept him as one of their own come GE14?

ALOR SETAR: PPBM’s Wan Saiful Wan Jan does not have any chance of winning the Pendang parliamentary seat in the upcoming polls, Pendang Umno division chief Md Rozai Shafian said today.

He justified this by referring to the 2013 general election where Mohamad Sabu, then a PAS deputy president, was brought in to defend the seat which had been held by another PAS candidate for two terms.

“Yet, Mat Sabu lost to Barisan Nasional’s Othman Abdul. The people of Pendang cannot accept it at all if an outsider contests.

“Mat Sabu failed in Pendang because he is an outsider. Pendang is for Pendang people,” Rozai told reporters after an election machinery briefing held at the Dewan Cenderawasih in Pendang near here today.

Present at the briefing were Othman, who will defend the Pendang seat, Sungai Tiang state seat candidate Suraya Yaacob and Tokai state seat candidate Abdul Fatahi Omar.

In the 2013 general election, Othman defeated Mat Sabu by 2,638 votes.

On PH’s candidacy, Rozai said one could see that Pakatan Harapan was trying to impress young voters with Wan Saiful’s academic qualifications.

“But like Mat Sabu, Wan Saiful is an outsider, too. His house is in Kuala Lumpur.

“The people in Pendang want their MP here full-time, 24 hours.

“Whenever there is a kenduri, or a funeral, they want their MP there. They don’t want those who are around on a seasonal basis.

“You see, the way Pendang people think, and what they want, are very different from those who live in urban areas.”

Following the announcement last week of his candidacy for Pendang in the 14th general election (GE14), his first foray into politics, Wan Saiful said it was a case of “balik kampung” for him.

Wan Saiful, who is PPBM’s deputy chief strategist, said he was born and bred in Alor Star, which is just 30 minutes’ away from Pendang.

‘Don’t be over-confident’

Meanwhile, Rozai urged the Pendang election machinery to not belittle their opponents from PPBM, who are contesting the parliamentary and state seats.

He said if they became over-confident, they could end up with a shock loss, citing the tale of the tortoise and the hare.

“I hope the party workers do not get complacent and overconfident. They should always be alert, stand guard to all that is happening in their areas.

“We must win with a big majority,” he said.

The Pendang Umno division chief said while they were confident of retaining the Pendang parliamentary seat, as well as the Sungai Tiang state seat, the time was now ripe to also wrest Tokai from PAS.

Rozai said a multi-cornered fight in the seat would give them the edge and an opportunity to create history.

“This is the time for change in Tokai. It has been far too long, to the point that the Pendang folks do not even know who their representative is. They only know him by name, but they do not know who he is.

“There has been no service from him at all,” Rozai claimed.

The Tokai state seat was previously held by PAS’ Mohd Taulan Rasul. He will not be defending his seat in GE14. Mohd Hayati Othman, who was Pendang MP from 2004 to 2013, is taking his place.

The Pendang parliamentary seat is expected to see a three-cornered fight between incumbent Othman, Wan Saiful and PAS’ Awang Hashim, who is the Pendang PAS division deputy chief.

The Sungai Tiang state seat, meanwhile, will see BN’s incumbent, Suraya Yaacob, facing PPBM’s Abdul Razak Khamis, and PAS’ Saiful Syazwan Shafie.

As for the Tokai seat, apart from Hayati and Fatahi, the seat will also be contested by Amanah’s Mohd Firdaus Jaafar.