PONTIAN, Johor: Pakatan Harapan (PH) on Monday (Oct 28) named its candidate for the Nov 16 Tanjung Piai by-election, while Barisan Nasional (BN) kept mum on its contender.
The Johor parliamentary seat, located at the southernmost tip of the peninsula, became vacant following the death of its member of parliament Dr Md Farid Md Rafik on Sep 21 due to a heart attack.
Speaking on Monday at the launch of BN's election machinery for the by-election, BN Chairman Ahmad Zahid said the coalition's Johor chairman had "instructed me not to make the announcement today" and added the Malaysian Chinese Association's (MCA) president had also made a similar request.
His remarks come after PH named 66-year-old Karmaine Sardini on Monday afternoon.
Although there were many eligible candidates, Karmaine was chosen as he met PH's criteria, said Johor PH Chairman Muhyiddin Yassin.
“Many names were given but the leadership felt that Karmaine was the suitable candidate based on several factors - he is a local, he was born here and he has the qualifications," he said.
“These are the criteria which the leadership want to continue the struggle of the late Datuk Dr Md Farid Md Rafik in Tanjung Piai, as this constituency needs development in terms of economy, social, education and other aspects."
Karmaine has a heavy responsibility as he not only has to continue with the efforts of the late Dr Md Farid but also has to be fair and just to the local multi-racial community, said the Home Affairs minister.
He added that should Karmaine be elected, it would be easier for him to carry out his duties because as a representative of PH, he could meet with the Johor Chief Minister on issues pertaining to the state, and it would be easier for him to obtain assistance and allocation to help him develop Tanjung Piai.
When asked about PH’s preparations for the by-election, Muhyiddin said the party machinery had been mobilised and he was satisfied with the preparations.
“We are also aware of what issues and problems which plague the local people," he said. "Most have been resolved, not because of the by-election which is a coincidence ... such as the development projects which are on-going."
Dr Md Farid, a deputy minister in the Prime Minister’s Department and member of PPBM, was 42 when he died.
In the May 2018 general election, he had polled 21,255 votes to snatch the seat from incumbent Wee Jeck Seng from the MCA, who garnered 20,731 votes.
Tanjung Piai is a racially-mixed seat with 57 per cent Malays, 42 per cent Chinese and 1 per cent Indian.
A straight fight between PH and BN is expected in this by-election, as the Parti Islam Se-Malaysia has indicated that it would not contest it.