KUCHING – The decision not to put Jasa director-general Datuk Dr Mohd Puad Zarkashi as Barisan Nasional (BN) candidate in Batu Pahat in the 14th general election (GE14) was based on an assessment of the political landscape throughout the country, including in Batu Pahat.
Deputy Prime Minister Datuk Seri Dr Ahmad Zahid Hamidi said the Batu Pahat UMNO division head must accept the reality that the constituency was in a critical state with an erosion of support for BN.
He said by placing another candidate to contest in the parliamentary constituency, BN hoped it could wrest it back from PKR.
“…but if the district voting centre is temporarily closed due to protests and he wants to contest on any ticket, that is up to him,” he said in a press conference held after his working visit to Sarawak at the VIP room in the Kuching International Airport here.
“…but (if that happens) he is not showing a strong party spirit even though he is a member of the UMNO Supreme Council and director-general of Jasa. This is a democratic country, it is up to him,” he said.
He was commenting on speculations that Mohd Puad may be contesting as an independent candidate in GE14 after his name was not included as BN candidate in Johor.
Ahmad Zahid said he himself had once faced bigger pressures, but as a ‘party man’ his party spirit overruled everything else.
“If I was in his position (Puad), I will not leave the party, what more contest as an independent candidate,” he said.
Zahid said in 2013, Mohd Puad contested in the Batu Pahat parliamentary constituency, but did not win, and he had also been made senator and Deputy Education Minister.
Commenting on the preparations of the GE in Sarawak, Ahmad Zahid said BN must be positive in its efforts to win the election, and although the state BN was currently facing some ‘intra-party’ problems, this was normal in any general election. – BERNAMA