I can take the heat from Puad, says Khaled

Johor Umno chief and Menteri Besar Khaled Nordin (middle) speaking to reporters today.

JOHOR BAHRU: Johor Umno chief Mohd Khaled Nordin says he is willing to accept criticism from Batu Pahat Umno division chief Mohd Puad Zarkashi for not being chosen to contest the seat in the coming election.

“It is okay. Let him criticise as much as he wants,” he said, adding that he was “willing to take the heat” on behalf of Umno.

“Don’t blame the party president and deputy for that. Our main focus should be the election,” he said here today.

Khaled was asked to comment on Puad’s statements on Facebook, criticising Umno acting deputy president Ahmad Zahid Hamidi for suggesting that Puad was dropped as the party felt the Batu Pahat constituency had seen an erosion of support for Barisan Nasional (BN).

Puad had also accused Khaled of choosing candidates from his own camp.

When asked whether the party would refer Puad for disciplinary action over his remarks, Khaled said it was not for him to answer.

Puad, who was formerly the deputy higher education minister, was not chosen to contest the Batu Pahat parliamentary seat. He was MP there from 2008 to 2013, but lost in the 13th general election to PKR’s Mohd Idris Jusi.

Instead, Batu Pahat Wanita Umno chief Haliza Abdullah will be fielded against PKR’s Rashid Hasnon.

Puad subsequently quit as director-general of the Special Affairs Department (Jasa), which acts as the government’s propaganda unit.

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