Umno to sit out Chempaka race for Muslim ‘unity’

Chempka by-election

(Malay Mail Online) – Umno will stay out of the Chempaka state by-election in Kelantan for the sake of Muslim “unity”, party president and Prime Minister Datuk Seri Najib Razak said today.

Najib said the decision was also made so the federal government can focus on its flood relief efforts in the east coast state as there are still victims who need help.

“We will stay out of the by-election… because we want to focus on the rehabilitation and reparation works as the efforts are still in process. There are also those who have yet to receive aide so this is a priority.

“Secondly, we also consider that we look into efforts to unite the ummah (Muslim community) as even if we differ politically unity is important,” Najib told reporters after chairing Umno’s supreme council meeting here.

Najib defended Umno’s abstinence as “normal”, citing as precedent the Bukit Gelugor parliamentary by-election.

“There is precedent. When Bukit Gelugor was vacant, BN didn’t field a candidate so it’s not necessary to do it. We will look at the situation first,” he said.

The Umno president said the matter was agreed by the party’s Kelantan chapter.

The Chempaka state seat fell vacant after incumbent Datuk Nik Abdul Aziz Nik Mat died from prostate cancer on February 12.

The Election Commission has set nominations for March 10 and polling on March 22.