PAGOH: PPBM president Muhyiddin Yassin defended Pizi Jihat, the party’s disqualified candidate for the Bukit Pasir state seat in Johor, saying that Pizi was no longer a bankrupt as claimed by the Election Commission.
Expressing disappointment with the EC decision, Muhyiddin said Pizi had already checked on his insolvency status, and confirmed that he was no longer listed as a bankrupt.
However the returning officer said EC checks had shown Pizi still listed as a bankrupt, thus disqualifying him from contesting the general election.
The party will now check with its lawyers on the next course of action. Pizi said his disqualification was due to a “technical problem” and that it was “one way the BN government is trying to prevent Pakatan Harapan from having a stronger chance of gaining victory in the general election”.
Muhyiddin said PPBM would move on from its disappointment.
“Before we decided on this candidate, we ensured that he had settled all matters with regards to his insolvency status, and can confirm that he has already done so.
“That’s why I am puzzled when the returning officer said his name was still in the system as a bankrupt,” he said.
The seat will now be a straight fight between Noriah Mahat (Barisan Nasional) and Najib Lep (PAS).
Bukit Pasir, formerly called Jorak, was won by PPBM secretary-general Shahruddin Md Salleh at the 2013 general election.
When asked if Pakatan Harapan would consider a reconciliation with PAS and campaign for the PAS candidate in lieu, Muhyiddin said the coalition was willing to “forget about the seat”.
“No, it just means that we focus more on the winnable seats. If we don’t have a candidate for that seat, we just move on and leave it to the other parties,” he said.
Muhyiddin’s opponent in the Pagoh parliamentary seat, Ismail Mohamed, was also disappointed and said such things should not take place, especially with Muhyiddin being the head of the local PPBM division.
“This kind of things should not happen in a party president’s area. Look at BN, we are organised, compared with them,” said Ismail, who was Muhyiddin’s protege while Muhyiddin was in Umno before forming PPBM with Dr Mahathir Mohamad.
Muhyiddin, a former Johor menteri besar, has been Pagoh MP since 1995 and has served in several Cabinet portfolios. He was appointed deputy prime minister and education minister by Prime Minister Najib Razak in 2009.
Ismail was assemblyman for Bukit Kepong (formerly known as Bukit Serampang) and was automatically appointed as acting head of Pagoh Umno when Muhyiddin was sacked from the party in 2016.
The other candidate, PAS newcomer Ahmad Nawfal, is the son of PAS syura council chief Dr Mahfodz Mohamed who will be contesting in Bukit Gambir, a state seat where Muhyiddin will also be contesting.
The candidates announced today are:
- Muhyiddin Yassin (PH-PPBM)
- Ismail Mohamed (BN-Umno)
- Ahmad Nawfal (PAS)
- State seats
- Dr Sahruddin Jamal (PH-PPBM)
- Mohd Noor Taib (BN-Umno)
- Muhammad Nur Iqbal Abd Razak (PAS)
- Noriah Mahat (BN-Umno)
- Najib Lep (PAS)
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