PH should skip ‘foregone conclusion’ at Chini polls, says Umno

A by-election is scheduled to be held on July 4 in the Chini state constituency, Pahang.

PETALING JAYA: An Umno Supreme Council member has urged Pakatan Harapan to opt out of a by-election in Chini, Pahang, citing the opposition coalition’s poor performance in the constituency at the 2018 general election.

Sharkar Shamsuddin said the seat was won by Barisan Nasional with a 4,622 majority in a three-cornered fight involving PAS and PH, which only mustered a little over 1,000 votes, or 6% of the total votes.

With BN now working with PAS through the Muafakat Nasional alliance, the end result would be a “foregone conclusion”, he said.

A contested by-election would be “an unnecessary strain on the public coffers and would create a public health risk because of Covid-19.

Sharkar Shamsuddin says BN sat out the Port Dickson by-election for the sake of national interest.

If there had been an even contest in 2018, it would be democratic to seek a fresh mandate, but given the current state of affairs, and the unlikelihood that PH would make any inroads, Sharkar said it would be best for PH not to contest the seat.

Both government and opposition parties could show camaraderie in the people’s interest. “After all BN sat out the Port Dickson by-election for the sake of the national interest,” he said, referring to the contest in which PKR president Anwar Ibrahim secured the seat in a seven cornered fight.

The Chini by-election will be held on July 4. The seat fell vacant following the death of Abu Bakar Harun two weeks ago.

Sharkar is an executive councillor in the Perikatan Nasional state government. PN holds 33 seats in the 42-seat state assembly, comprising Umno (24), PAS (8) and MCA (1), while Pakatan Harapan holds 9 seats through DAP (7) and PKR (2).

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