PORT DICKSON, Sept 21 ― Barisan Nasional (BN) has yet to decide whether it would field a candidate in the Port Dickson by-election, the constituency’s Umno division chief Mohd Faizal Ramli has said.
In an interview yesterday, Mohd Faizal said the decision lies with the former ruling coalition’s top leadership, as it would not only affect Umno but other component parties as well.
“At this time, there has not been any decision yet for BN to contest in the by-election. The by-election does not only concern Umno, but BN as a whole.
“Knowing that Datuk Seri Anwar [Ibrahim] is contesting here, we need to research on what is the right move,” he told Malay Mail when met at his office here.
Umno secretary-general Tan Sri Annuar Musa has reportedly said the party's political bureau will only meet this Monday to decide whether to challenge the bid by incoming PKR president Datuk Seri Anwar Ibrahim.
Mohd Faizal explained that Port Dickson is considered to be a traditional seat for MIC as the party has contested it since 1969 ― but there has been demands from the grassroots for Umno to field its own candidate instead.
MIC had lost the federal seat in the last three general elections.
In the May 9 polls, MIC’s Mogan Velayatham lost to PKR’s Datuk Danyal Balagopal Abdullah by 17,710 votes.
But Mohd Faizal admitted that his own chances against Anwar would be slim.
“I am not suitable to contest against someone like Anwar,” he said.
“At the moment, there has not been talks on any preferred candidates to stand in the by-election although Negri Sembilan former mentri besar, Datuk Seri Mohamad Hassan was one of the names bandied around.”
He reiterated that extensive research would be needed should the Opposition wishes to field a candidate, and it goes for both Umno and PAS.
The by-election was called following the resignation of former incumbent Danyal on September 12, to give way to Datuk Seri Anwar Ibrahim to contest the seat and return to Parliament.
The Election Commission (EC) yesterday set the nomination day for September 29, and the polling date will be held on October 13.