I’ll defend Nenggiri, says Azizi despite Kelantan Umno’s claim to seat

The incumbent assemblyman, whose seat has been declared vacant, declines to reveal which party he would represent.

(FMT) – Azizi Abu Naim, the incumbent assemblyman for the Nenggiri state seat in Kelantan which was declared vacant on Wednesday, has stated his intention to defend the seat.

He said his current focus was on his application in court to challenge Kelantan assembly speaker Amar Abdullah’s declaration that the seat had been vacated.

“I will defend the seat (if a by-election is called),” he told FMT, without revealing which party he would represent.

This comes despite Umno laying claim to the seat recently, with Kelantan Umno deputy information chief Noor Hariri Mohamed Noor saying Azizi, who had stated his support for the federal unity government, should focus on his Gua Musang parliamentary constituency.

“It’s still too soon to speculate on who the (unity government’s) candidate will be, but it will definitely come from Umno.

“Azizi would surely understand this situation. He needs to focus on his duties as the Gua Musang MP,” Hariri was reported as telling FMT on Thursday.

Yesterday, asked if Barisan Nasional would give way to Azizi to represent the unity government should a by-election be held, BN chairman and Umno president Ahmad Zahid Hamidi said they were “prepared to negotiate”.

“Our current stand is that priority is given to the incumbent’s party to stand in an election,” he said.

Amar had declared the Nenggiri seat vacant after Bersatu said it had terminated Azizi’s membership for failing to declare his loyalty to the party and supporting Prime Minister Anwar Ibrahim’s administration.

Azizi is among the six Bersatu MPs who pledged support for Anwar. The others are Syed Abu Hussin Hafiz Syed Abdul Fasal (Bukit Gantang), Dr Zulkafperi Hanapi (Tanjong Karang), Zahari Kechik (Jeli), Iskandar Dzulkarnain Abdul Khalid (Kuala Kangsar) and Suhaili Abdul Rahman (Labuan).

Selat Klang assemblyman Abdul Rashid Asari had also declared support for the Selangor unity government led by menteri besar Amirudin Shari.

Since its creation in 2004, the Nenggiri seat had been held by Umno until last year, when Azizi, contesting on a PAS ticket, defeated its previous assemblyman, Ab Aziz Yusoff.