TUMPAT: Umno is not afraid to face any candidate either from Parti Keadilan Rakyat (PKR) or PAS in the by-election for the Pengkalan Kubor state constituency seat.
Its information chief, Ahmad Maslan said what is important is for Umno and Barisan Nasional (BN) to continue the struggle to ensure that the state seat remained with BN in the by-election to be held soon.
“The legacy of the struggle by the late Noor Zahidi Omar who had held the seat for three terms must be maintained and we are certain of gaining the undivided support of the voters for BN.
“The candidate that we will field will fulfill the aspirations of the constituents just like the late assemblyman (Noor Zahidi) who was liked by the people there all this while,”Ahmad told reporters at the Pengkalan Kubor Community Service Centre, Tumpat, Thursday.
Ahmad, who is also the Deputy Finance Minister, visited 12 District Polling Centres (PDM) in the state constituency as well as the Pengkalan Kubor Duty Free Zone.
He said that among the criteria for the candidate were that he or she was liked by the constituents, hard-working, dedicated and practised a moderate lifestyle.
“As to whether the candidate will be a young or old person should be decided by the party president, and whoever he decides should be the best,” he said.
Ahmad said that the tussle for the state seat between PKR and PAS also proved that there was no consensus among the coalition.
On Wednesday, Kelantan Deputy Menteri Besar Datuk Mohd Amar Nik Abdullah was reported as saying that PAS wanted the Pengkalan Kubor state seat as it was confident that if PAS contested in the by-election, it would have a better chance compared to PKR.
Mohd Amar, who is also the Kelantan PAS deputy commissioner 1, said that the state seat was only loaned to PKR and that PAS could take it back at any time.
Kelantan PKR, however, had stated that it still wanted to contest the seat.
The by-election for the Pengkalan Kubor state seat must be held following the death of incumbent assemblyman Noor Zahidi due to liver cancer at a hospital in Guangzhou, China, on Aug 20.
In the last general election, Noor Zahidi, representing the BN, defeated PKR’s candidate Saharun Ibrahim and Independent candidate Izat Bukhary Ismail Bukhary by a 1,736-vote majority.
Meanwhile, commenting on what transpired in Selangor, Ahmad said that the PKR, DAP and PAS had actually rebelled against the Sultan of Selangor, Sultan Sharafuddin Idris Shah when they insisted on defending the name of PKR president Datin Seri Dr.Wan Azizah Wan Ismail as the candidate for Menteri Besar.
The Sultan had said earlier that the parties in the opposition coalition namely PAS, DAP and PKR should nominate more than two names as the candidate for the post of Menteri Besar to facilitate him in deciding on the eligible candidate.
However PKR and DAP were reported to insist on nominating only Dr.Wan Azizah for the post.
Meanwhile, the residents in Pengkalan Kubor when approached by BERNAMA generally wanted the political parties contesting in the by-election to give priority to a local resident to represent them in the by-election.
In fact, the majority of the voters who claimed to have supported the BN in the last general election wanted the candidate to have the leadership qualities as shown by the late Noor Zahidi.
A resident, Roslan Hassan, 35, from Kampung Geting, Tumpat, said the candidate must be approachable and people-friendly.
“In addition to being a local, we want the candidate to also come down to the ground often to find out the problems faced by the constituents,” he said.
Another resident of Kampung Pengkalan Kubor, Hasnah Musa, 46, said a local candidate would be more preferred besides being people-friendly.