Study why PH candidate lost in Sungai Bakap, says Mohamad

(NST) – The defeat of the Pakatan Harapan (PH) candidate in the Sungai Bakap by-election needs to be evaluated, said Barisan Nasional deputy chairman Datuk Seri Mohamad Hasan.

Mohamad, who is also Umno deputy president, said a study should be conducted, particularly in light of the Perikatan Nasional (PN) candidate’s large majority of votes.

“We need to investigate why the PN candidate won by a wider margin, beginning with a majority of 1,563 votes in the state election and progressing to a majority of more than 4,200 votes.

“The voters have made their decision. When the by-election was held, they were influenced by several issues.

“The percentage of voter turnout, whether high or low, is also one of the causes, but this issue must be noted and taken into account by all parties,” he said after officiating at the Umno Rembau division meeting at the Hotel Royal Chulan here today.

In the by-election yesterday, PN retained the Sungai Bakap state seat in Penang.

PN’s Abidin Ismail won 14,489 votes, defeating Pakatan Harapan’s Dr Joohari Ariffin, who gained 10,222 votes.

Abidin has a 4,267-vote lead, which is more than the margin in the state election in August.

In another development, Mohamad said Umno needed to identify election candidates earlier to prevent disputes and conflicts among party members at the eleventh hour.

The Rembau member of parliament said through this approach, they coud resolve candidate selection issues before an election.

He said this could also provide room for the candidate to engage the community.

“The selection of a candidate starts with the division, and the process must be initiated from the beginning. It should not be done at the last minute when the state assembly or Parliament is about to be dissolved.

“We lost the election because of candidacy issues—whether they had divisional approval, were popular, and so on.

“It is important to settle the candidate selection process first to avoid competition and conflict. When we identify the candidates early, maybe a year or two before an election, people will get to know them.

“I think now is the time to identify candidates to give them space to work and introduce themselves to the community.”

Yesterday, Umno vice-president Datuk Seri Johari Abdul Ghani said Umno grassroots members should not fight over candidacy to prevent Umno from continuing to experience defeat.

Johari said there were still disputes over the issue of candidates, despite Umno’s performance in the elections having declined.