Of Zahid’s ‘self-denial’ vs Tok Mat’s gracious acceptance of UMNO’s Kemaman by-election defeat

(Focus Malaysia) – WHETHER this is merely a display of leadership style or a matter of personal opinion, there is somehow a contrast in how the two top UMNO leaders perceive the party’s defeat in the Kemaman parliamentary by-election over the last weekend (Dec 2).

Party president Datuk Seri Ahmad Zahid Hamidi is seemingly reluctant to accept UMNO’s defeat as a form of referendum after having recently described Kemaman as a strong UMNO fortress or stronghold.

“We cannot consider it a referendum because of a small cocoon in Kemaman. How could 141,000 voters in Kemaman be considered a referendum?” Bernama cited the Barisan Nasional (BN) chairman as saying in response to PAS secretary-general Datuk Seri Takiyuddin Hassan who claimed that the referendum favours the Perikatan Nasional (PN) coalition.

“So, we hope they (PAS) don’t try to dream during the daytime,” the Deputy Prime Minister (DPM) retaliated, denying an increase in the support for PAS candidate Datuk Seri Ahmad Samsuri Mokhtar (who is also the Terengganu Menteri Besar) while further revealing that about 10,000 hardcore UMNO voters did not turn out to vote.

For the record, Samsuri who is also the PAS vice-president polled 64,998 votes to win with a majority of 37,220 votes against UMNO’s candidate Raja Mohamed Affandi who only managed to secure 27,778 votes.

Such tally contrasted the 15th General Election (GE15) outcome when the then UMNO-BN candidate Datuk Seri Ahmad Said (who was also the former Terengganu MB) obtained 38,355 votes against the PAS candidate Che Alias Hamid who polled 65,714 votes (recall that Che Alias’ victory was annulled by the Kuala Terengganu Elections Court on Oct 3).

Interestingly, UMNO deputy president Datuk Seri Mohamad Hasan (Tok Mat) was more gracious in his acceptance of UMNO’s defeat, attributing it as “a clear signal on a few matters and trends”.

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