Najib: Dr M’s personal attacks backfired at Slim polls

Victorious BN candidate Mohd Zaidi Aziz flanked by Umno president Ahmad Zahid Hamidi and former president Najib Razak this evening. (Bernama pic)

TANJUNG MALIM: Former prime minister Najib Razak says Barisan Nasional’s big victory at the Slim by-election is proof that the people have rejected the strategy of Dr Mahathir Mohamad’s new party, Pejuang.

He said the people have grown sick of the personal attacks launched by the party, particularly against him.

“The people heard the stories (from Pejuang) and they have rejected them. They want leaders who can defend them, who can take care of their welfare.

“Still they (Pejuang) mention my name (while campaigning). The people have started to hate hearing about the issue (of personal attacks against me),” he told reporters here after the Slim by-election results were officially announced.

BN candidate Mohd Zaidi Aziz was elected the new Slim state assemblyman tonight, garnering 13,060 votes for a thumping majority of 10,945 over his main rival, independent candidate Amir Khusyairi Mohamad Tanusi, who polled 2,115.

Najib said Amir, who represents Mahathir’s Parti Pejuang Tanah Air, had lost heavily at the Felda Besout 2 polling centre even after Mahathir had campaigned there for him.

“In Besout 2, where Mahathir campaigned, they lost badly. This is a sign that the people are beginning to realise his (Mahathir’s) failure to lead for 22 months,” he said. Mahathir was head of the Pakatan Harapan government from May 2018 until he resigned in February.

Najib said non-Malay support for BN was growing, based on today’s results, which he viewed as a positive sign.

BN’s victory overturned its dismal showing at the 2018 elections, when it retained the seat by only a 2,183 majority.

BN secretary-general Annuar Musa said, however, that the coalition should guard against being complacent as it prepares itself for the looming Sabah state elections.

He said this served as preparation for a victory in Sabah, adding that there will be no off days for the coalition’s election machinery.

BN chairman Ahmad Zahid Hamid said this by-election win can be extended to the people of Sabah, adding that this result was “curing” the people’s “longing” for the party.