Zahid puts a damper on Tok Mat’s seat claim

Umno deputy president Mohamad Hasan’s wish to contest Rembau had a cool reception from BN chairman Ahmad Zahid Hamidi, who is also Umno president. (Bernama pic)

PETALING JAYA: Barisan Nasional chairman Ahmad Zahid Hamidi has put a damper on the hopes of Umno deputy president Mohamad Hasan to contest the Rembau parliamentary seat at the next general election.

Zahid, who is also Umno president, said in Tanjong Malim that Barisan Nasional has yet to identify its list of potential candidates. The coalition has also not decided which seats it wants to contest, Bernama reported.

Mohamad Hasan, popularly known as Tok Mat, said yesterday that he would contest the Rembau seat. (Rembau is currently represented by Khairy Jamaluddin, who has held the seat for three terms.)

“No decisions yet, seats yet to be identified, much less the candidates. The matter (Mohamad’s announcement) should not even be raised yet,” Zahid said after launching BN’s machinery for the Slim state seat by-election in Trolak today.

Zahid said BN, Umno, PAS and Bersatu had formed a consultative committee to discuss seat allocations for the general election.

“When the time comes, when the matter has been settled at party level, then this committee will discuss seat allocations, which will then be finalised by the respective party presidents,” he said, while adding that so far, there have been no detailed discussions on this.

Slim by-election a chance to find common ground

Zahid said that the by-election for the Slim state assembly seat, to be held at the end of this month, should be used as a platform to find common ground between BN, PAS and PPBM.

He said Umno’s cooperation with PAS through their Muafakat Nasional alliance had been proven through several previous by-elections, while co-operation with PPBM in the Perikatan Nasional was translated for the first time in Chini last month, Bernama reported.

“Even if PPBM has internal problems or there is PPBM ‘black out’, leave them with their problems. We are confident that the PPBM with us will continue to support us, set aside problems, for there are no problems that cannot be solved,” he said.

“There is wisdom in this by-election. The point of similarity will be a priority or togetherness to determine the co-operation,” he said.

Zahid, who is Umno president, said the Slim by-election on Aug 29 would be an indication for the 15th general election.

He was confident that the BN candidate, to be announced on Aug 12, would defend the Slim seat with the support of PAS and PPBM voters.

The Slim by-election is being held following the death of Mohd Khusairi Abdul Talib, 59, on July 15. Khusairi was re-elected to the seat in 2018 with a majority of 2,183 votes against PPBM candidate Mohd Amran Ibrahim and PAS candidate Muhammad Zulfadli Zainal.