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Saturday, March 30, 2019

No point for Mohamad to contest in Rantau, says Tian Chua

PKR vice-president and former Batu MP Tian Chua.
SEREMBAN: PKR vice-president Tian Chua says there is a no point for Rantau incumbent Mohamad Hasan to contest in the by-election.
The only reason he is doing so is to keep himself relevant, the former Batu MP said.
“He is no longer menteri besar and he is not an MP,” Tian Chua told FMT on the sidelines of the nominations yesterday.
“He also cannot effectively lead Umno, so it is clear the only reason for him to defend the seat is for his own political career and nothing else.
“Barisan Nasional (BN) is just using this (by-election) as a platform for Mohamad to continue his political career, nothing more.”
Mohamad is acting Umno president after Ahmad Zahid Hamidi went on garden leave. He was the Negeri Sembilan menteri besar from 2004 to 2018 and a three-term Rantau assemblyman.
Observers have said that Mohamad, better known as Tok Mat or Mat Hasan, will retain the seat as he is favoured by the Malays and many non-Malays. Rantau has about 50% Malay and 50% non-Malay voters.
But Tian Chua said the “continuous expose of Umno’s corruption and previous misuse of power” will help voters realise they will be making a smart decision by not voting for BN.
“We are still trying to cope with some of the problems that we inherited from the previous administration.
“But BN is not offering anything to the people, so we must articulate this clearly to the rakyat.”
Tian Chua conceded, however, that it will still be an uphill battle for Pakatan Harapan (PH), which has lost the last two by-elections and is the underdog in Rantau.
Urging PH candidate Dr Streram Sinnasamy to do a good job, he said: “Things may not be favourable but we need to highlight what Pakatan can do and our candidate must go down and present himself as someone who will render direct services to the people.”
Asked about speculation that Umno will rally the full force of its election machinery for Rantau and if PH will follow suit, including using government machinery, he said this was unlikely.
“I don’t think Pakatan has ever, in the previous by-elections, mobilised the entire government machinery. Also, there is no need for it. Our vision will not get across simply with the help of government machinery.”
Tian Chua also does not believe the four-cornered fight will spread votes thin for all candidates, saying the by-election will eventually come down to the BN and PAS-supported candidate Mohamad and Streram.
“As we saw in previous by-elections, independent candidates are not the main players because ultimately the voters will choose between the two big forces.
“This is not the time for independents to come in,” he said.
PKR communications director Fahmi Fadzil agreed that it will not be an easy contest for PH.
The Lembah Pantai MP also found it interesting that former prime minister Najib Razak’s “Bossku” phenomenon has not made a dent among Rantau voters, saying Umno should not jump on the bandwagon.
BN leaders have attributed their recent Cameron Highlands and Semenyih by-election victories to, in part, Najib and the Bossku movement, which is popular among youths and social media users.
Asked when Dr Mahathir Mohamad will come down to campaign, Fahmi said he is not sure as the prime minister’s schedule is fairly packed, especially with the Dewan Rakyat in session.
The Rantau by-election on April 15 will pit Mohamad against Streram and independent candidates Mohd Nor Yassin and Malar Rajaram.
It follows the Federal Court’s dismissal of an appeal filed by Mohamad to set aside an Election Court decision declaring his unopposed victory in GE14 null and void.
Mohamad was declared the winner of the seat after Streram was prohibited from entering the nomination centre as he did not have a pass from the Election Commission.
Today is the second day of campaigning. - FMT

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