No rush to discuss Tanjung Piai seat, says Umno’s Ismail

Umno vice-president Ismail Sabri Yaakob.

KUALA LUMPUR: Umno is in no hurry to discuss the vacancy in the Tanjung Piai parliamentary seat, the party’s vice-president, Ismail Sabri Yaakob, said today.

Ismail, who is parliamentary opposition leader, said that when the time comes for a meeting, it would be chaired by Barisan Nasional chairman Ahmad Zahid Hamidi.

The Tanjung Piai parliamentary seat, in Pontian, Johor, fell vacant on the death of deputy minister Md Farid Md Rafik, 42, of PPBM on Saturday. He won the seat last year by a narrow 524-vote majority over the Barisan Nasional candidae Wee Jeck Seng, who was seeking a third term.

Ismail said Umno would have discussions with fellow BN component parties and listen to grassroot members before a decision is made on the contest.

Umno’s new ally PAS will also be involved in the discussions.

The Election Commission will meet on Oct 1 to discuss the vacancy.

Earlier today, Johor BN chairman Hasni Mohammad said there was a possibility that BN might field a “heavyweight” candidate, who could be from any component party.

“At present, the suggestion is open as there are no hard or fast rules stating who can qualify as a candidate,” he was quoted as saying.

He denied that there was an agreement to field only MCA candidates in the seat, which has been contested by the party since 2004. “At present, there is no fixed consensus among the BN leadership on this,” he said.

Pakatan Harapan president Dr Wan Azizah Wan Ismail said in Serdang that the ruling coalition would call a meeting soon to discuss the by-election. She expressed her sorrow at the death of Dr Md Farid.