Johor Pakatan courts Salahuddin as MB candidate

(The Malaysian Insider) – Johor Pakatan Rakyat (PR) leaders have held “serious discussions” with Salahuddin Ayub for the PAS vice-president to stand in his home state to address the lack of a strong Malay leader as a possible mentri besar candidate.

The opposition in Johor expects to make huge gains in the next general election on the back of increased Chinese support but the lack of a viable potential MB has already resulted in attacks from Umno that a PR administration would be a “Chinese government.”

The Malaysian Insider understands that the Pontian-born Salahuddin has held several closed-door meetings with top Johor PR leaders.

A source said the meetings involved “serious discussions” and there is a high possibility that the Kuban Kerian MP will contest in Johor.

“Salahuddin is weighing the matter seriously. We in Johor Pakatan are ready to receive him.

“The seats for him to contest have already been identified. He may contest in both federal and state seats but our priority is for him to stand as an assemblyman,” he said.

It is understood that Sembrong, a federal seat near Kluang with about 40 per cent Chinese voters, has been touted as a potential landing point for Salahuddin.

Rumours have circulated that incumbent Home Minister Datuk Seri Hishammuddin Hussein may move to Kota Tinggi, a safer seat that will likely be vacated by Tan Sri Syed Hamid Albar, who was dropped from the Cabinet by Datuk Seri Najib Razak when the prime minister took power in 2009.

Johor DAP chief Dr Boo Cheng Hau also confirmed that he has invited the former PAS Youth chief to return to the state.

“I have invited Salahuddin to contest here because we need a national-level leader here,” he told The Malaysian Insider.

When contacted, Salahuddin refused to confirm if he will contest in Johor but said he is “ready to migrate” if asked by the party.

“I have been with the party for 30 years and contested in Johor but lost. There is no obstacle for me as I am a Johorean and built my career there,” he told The Malaysian Insider.

He said that he has been asked by party members to return to Johor over the past few years.

Salahuddin has been MP for Kubang Kerian in Kelantan for two terms and PAS conventionally allows leaders from other states to contest in its northern stronghold for two elections.