Barisan Nasional (BN) chairman Datuk Seri Ahmad Zahid Hamidi believes the party can wrest back the Kemaman parliamentary seat in Terengganu in the December 2 by-election as the constituency is an Umno stronghold and not that of PAS.
Ahmad Zahid, who is also the deputy prime minister, said the party’s defeat in the 15th General Election (GE15) was due to slander against Umno and BN, besides the opposition’s extraordinary financial resources.
“We feel that Kemaman is not a PAS fortress, Kemaman is Umno’s stronghold.
“But, due to the slander and outpouring of hate against Umno, especially, and BN as well as the use of financial resources that were extraordinary back then, so we didn’t get sufficient votes in Kemaman,” he said at the announcement of the BN candidate for the Kemaman by-election at Menara Dato’ Onn here today.
Former Chief of Defence Forces General (Rtd) Tan Sri Raja Mohamed Affandi Raja Mohamed Noor has been named as BN’s direct candidate to contest in the Kemaman by-election.
Ahmad Zahid said Raja Mohamed Affandi, who grew up in Kemaman, is seen as able to garner the support of the people and wrest back the sat based on his leadership in the army.
“He has a very strong background in the military career and he has gone through this professional career diligently,” he said.
Asked about the Umno and BN machinery’s acceptance of Raja Mohamed Affandi’s selection as BN’s candidate, Ahmad Zahid expressed confidence in the backing of party members and voters in Kemaman.
The Election Commission (EC) has set the polling for the by-election on December 2, the nomination on November 18 and early voting on November 28.
The by-election is being called after the Terengganu Election Court nullified the victory of PAS’ Che Alias Hamid, who had been declared the winner of the Kemaman parliamentary seat in GE15 last year.
BN previously held the Kemaman parliamentary seat through Datuk Seri Ahmad Shabery Cheek for three terms before it changed hands to Che Alias in GE14.