PETALING JAYA: An Umno man says the party must intensify its campaign efforts in traditional villages to win the upcoming Pelangai by-election, amid growing dissatisfaction over the party’s choice of Amizar Abu Adam as its candidate.
Bentong Umno Youth committee member Rafidzi Salleh said aside from Amizar being perceived as a recycled candidate, there may also be reservations among local residents as he hails from a Felda area.
“Therefore, Barisan Nasional needs to exert significant effort in these traditional villages because, on paper, it looks like we will lose,” he told FMT.
“Another critical factor could be the grassroots’ resistance to a recycled candidate, despite the presence of numerous capable leaders within Umno.”
Amizar, who is from Felda Chemomoi, lost to Pakatan Harapan’s Thomas Su by a margin of 120 votes in the Ketari state constituency in the 15th general election (GE15) last November.
Yesterday, Umno Youth chief Dr Akmal Saleh dismissed claims of a boycott within the party’s youth ranks over Amizar’s selection.
Located in the Bentong parliamentary constituency, Pelangai is an Umno stronghold and was won by Johari Harun with a majority of over 4,048 votes in GE15. The seat fell vacant after Johari died in the plane crash near Bandar Elmina in Shah Alam on Aug 17.
Meanwhile, acting Bentong Umno chief Zaini Salleh said any dissatisfaction over Amizar’s selection would not pose a long-term challenge to Umno or hamper BN’s prospects of victory.
“I hope the dissatisfaction is only temporary and I hope that our grassroots will come to terms with it in a few days,” he said.
“We are actively addressing emerging concerns, and I am confident that this issue will not linger or become a significant point of contention within Umno.”
Amizar faces a three-cornered fight for the Pelangai state seat. He faces Perikatan Nasional’s Kasim Samat and independent candidate Haslihelmy DM Zulhasli.
Haslihelmy, the president of Pertubuhan Suara Anak Pahang, was with Umno but party president Ahmad Zahid Hamid said on Saturday that his membership was automatically revoked after he decided to stand in the by-election.