PADANG RENGAS: Umno’s Nazri Aziz has refuted claims by DAP man Nga Kor Ming that the Barisan Nasional (BN) component party is “killing off” its allies MCA, Gerakan and MIC by taking over three seats traditionally contested by them.
Speaking on the sidelines of a meet-the-people session here, he said it was a matter of strategy.
“In the 2008 election, BN fielded component party candidates in seats which had more than 50% Malay voters.”
In some of these seats, he said, Umno could have won. He said this was proven five years later when BN took back the state seats of Pasir Panjang and Bera, enabling it to form the Perak government.
Following the recent redelineation exercise, Nazri added, seats such as Lumut now had over 60% Malay voters.
The Lumut seat was one of the three which Perak DAP chief Nga had cited in claiming that Umno had little respect for MCA, MIC and Gerakan. The other two were Hutan Melintang and Kuala Sepetang.
But Nazri said with three-cornered fights ahead, Umno was confident of winning these seats.
“Every seat counts. It’s not ‘killing off’ but negotiating.
“In the interest of BN, the component parties have agreed to loan or give back seats to Umno.”
Nazri, who is also an Umno Supreme Council member, said the issue should be seen in a national contest, not just in relation to Perak.
He said the Kuantan parliamentary seat had been given back to MCA which it regarded as an exchange for the Lumut seat. Meanwhile, MCA would also contest in Wangsa Maju again, in exchange for Umno contesting in Bandar Tun Razak.
In the case of Hutan Melintang, he said, the seat was originally Umno’s before being given to MIC.
“We need to ensure that we win the state, so we took back some seats. Component parties understand the need for a strong majority at the state and federal level.”
He added that wherever possible, BN would try to ensure that seats were exchanged on a one-to-one basis.
BN holds 31 seats in the 59-member Perak state assembly while Pakatan Harapan holds 24 and PAS 4.
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