Attack me at your peril, Najib tells PH leaders

Najib (centre) posing with BN candidate Zakaria Hanafi (on his right) and other Umno leaders after BN was announced the winner of the Semenyih by-election.

KAJANG: Former prime minister Najib Razak said Pakatan Harapan lost in the Semenyih by-election today because it was more interested in attacking him than paying heed to people’s problems.

“They made this huge mistake,” Najib told reporters as he joined other Barisan Nasional leaders to celebrate the coalition’s victory tonight.

“Instead of focusing on what was important to the people, they attacked me.

“What the people want to know is their (PH’s) agenda for them and what they stand for as a party.”

He said BN was clear on what it wanted to do and what it stood for.

“They should have concentrated on delivering on their election promises, but they didn’t.

“Instead, they attacked me. It was a big mistake on their part.”

The Pekan MP also attributed BN’s victory to his own tagline “Bossku”, which has accompanied the former leader’s recent public appearances in what many see as an attempt to reinvent himself following his fall from power last year.

“The spirit of the Bossku phenomenon happened on its own, organically. It was not planned or instructed to be carried out on our part but it came about because of the rakyat and the young generation,” he said, adding that the cooperation from PAS also played a role in BN’s victory.

BN’s Zakaria Hanafi won the Semenyih state seat with a 1,914-vote majority, getting 19,780 votes against PH’s Muhammad Aiman Zainali who got 17,866 votes.

Two other candidates, PSM’s Nik Aziz Afiq Abdul and independent Kuan Chee Hong, got 847 votes and 725 votes respectively.

This is the former ruling coalition’s second victory in a by-election since losing power last year.

The victory means the opposition, namely BN and PAS, now has six seats in the 56-seat Selangor state assembly.

For Umno vice-president Ismail Sabri, tonight’s win was made possible by a “snowballing” of support in the aftermath of the Cameron Highlands by-election victory for BN last month.

Former minister in the Prime Minister’s Department, Shahidan Kassim, said it was better for PH not to field a candidate in the upcoming Rantau by-election, which will see Umno acting president Mohamad Hasan trying to defend the seat.

Shahidan said a “large chunk” of Malaysians were upset with PH for not being able to fulfill election promises.

Ismail, meanwhile, said it was not only Najib’s “Bossku” tagline which helped BN.

“Najib is still a member of Umno, Pekan (Umno) divisional chief, and the former Umno president. Of course, he feels he has to contribute to the party. That’s why we welcome Najib wherever he wants to go.

“Everyone plays a role,” he added.

Umno’s Wanita chief Noraini Ahmad told FMT that BN won due to support from the youth.

Umno Youth leader Asyraf Wajdi Dusuki agreed, saying BN won due to a spike in support from younger voters.

The Semenyih by-election was triggered by the death of incumbent assemblyman Bakthiar Mohd Nor of PPBM on Jan 11.

In the general election last year, he defeated three others including BN and PAS with a 8,964-vote majority.