ALOR SETAR: Umno’s Othman Aziz claims PPBM deputy president Mukhriz Mahathir would not be able to serve well in the Jerlun parliamentary constituency in Kedah as he lacks a team and a proper support structure there.
Othman, who is defending the seat, said Barisan Nasional (BN) was not worried about the challenge from Mukhriz despite him being a “big name”.
Mukhriz, who is running for Pakatan Harapan (PH) under the PKR banner, is the son of former prime minister Dr Mahathir Mohamad and was Kedah menteri besar from 2013 to 2016.
Othman said BN was doubling its energy in the area for the 14th general election (GE14), not because of fear over Mukhriz.
“This is something we have to do in any election,” he said.
“You see, even in Jerlun, PPBM does not have a branch.
“If Mukhriz suddenly wins without a branch or division, he can give 1,001 reasons for not being able to serve in the area,” Othman said.
On the other hand, Umno had the necessary structure in place, with people in villages, branches and divisions, and hence would be able to help people better, he said.
Othman claimed that Mukhriz did not dare to defend the Ayer Hitam state seat within Jerlun as he had a poor service record there.
He also alleged that the constituents were also not impressed by Mukhriz’s track record when he was Jerlun MP from 2008 to 2013.
He said it was unrealistic for Mukhriz to promise that PH would resolve problems related to water supply within 100 days if it came to power in Kedah.
“The water problem is a perennial one. Mukhriz cannot settle this problem in 100 days. This is not something you can pluck out of thin air. You need to plan,” he said.
“Maybe he is just playing on sentiments, hoping that when he says that, people will feel convinced.
“But I believe the people have not forgotten his poor performance as a leader. He was part of the problem before,” Othman said.
He was responding to Mukhriz’s recent remarks that he had not been able to resolve several issues, including that related to water supply, as he was only menteri besar for two and a half years.
Othman and Mukhriz also face PAS’ Abd Ghani Ahmad in the May 9 polls.