KUALA LUMPUR: MCA president Wee Ka Siong said Dr Mahathir Mohamad’s challenge to Barisan Nasional (BN) to field an Umno candidate in the Tanjung Piai by-election next month was a ploy to split the coalition.
Wee said when it comes to splitting his opponents, Mahathir has extensive experience.
“He knows how the mechanism works and we are not convinced by his suggestion,” Wee told reporters at the Parliament lobby today.
“Whether his goal is to split the party or to provoke certain parties to contest, for us, BN remains united to face tough competition since we’re no longer the government,” said Wee.
Yesterday, Mahathir expressed confidence of a Pakatan Harapan victory in Tanjung Piai should BN field an Umno candidate.
Wee said the month-long gap between the date of announcing the by-election and the nomination day would allow PH to channel government allocations into the constituency before campaigning begins.
“This is the advantage used by PH now. A lesser known deputy minister has even gone there to visit,” he added.
The Tanjung Piai seat fell vacant following the death of its incumbent, PPBM’s Md Farid Md Rafik, on Sept 21.
The constituency used to be a battleground for MCA and DAP, but DAP made way for PPBM in the last general election.
Farid won the seat with a majority of 524 votes. The incumbent, MCA’s Wee Jeck Seng, garnered 20,731 votes and PAS’ Nordin Othman got 2,962.
It was reported earlier that 88 Umno branch leaders in Tanjung Piai had called for a candidate from the Malay party instead of MCA.
“MCA had the seat for too long and Tanjung Piai is a Malay-majority area,” Tanjung Piai Umno division chief Jefridin Atan told FMT.