Syed Saddiq: We don’t have to play Umno’s game in Semenyih

Syed Saddiq Abdul Rahman (left) shakes hands with Pakatan Harapan’s Semenyih candidate Muhammad Aiman Zainali (right), as Datuk Seri Azmin Ali looks on, in Semenyih February 15, 2019. — Picture by Hari Anggara
Syed Saddiq Abdul Rahman (left) shakes hands with Pakatan Harapan’s Semenyih candidate Muhammad Aiman Zainali (right), as Datuk Seri Azmin Ali looks on, in Semenyih February 15, 2019. — Picture by Hari Anggara

SEMENYIH, Feb 15 — Parti Pribumi Bersatu Malaysia (PPBM) Youth chief Syed Saddiq Abdul Rahman has urged his party colleagues not to play into the “smear” tactics of rivals Umno, as Pakatan Harapan (PH) gears up for a crucial by-election that coalition leaders say it must win.

The youth and sports minister told supporters at the launch of PH’s operation centre here that the Semenyih poll will be about “new politics”, an avenue to highlight the coalition’s achievements.

“Let’s have decency, be civil. We show the ‘rakyat’ what we have done,” he said.

“We don’t need to resort to smear tactics, don’t play into Umno’s game.”

The call for restraint reflects the anticipation that opponents Umno will ramp up the race rhetoric, just as it did in the Cameron Highlands by-election last month.

Wresting Semenyih, a state seat south of PH-controlled Selangor, could energise a resurgent Umno and deal a huge blow to the ruling coalition’s image. 

It could also reinforce views that ethnic majority Malays have no confidence in PH.

Datuk Seri Azmin Ali and Syed Saddiq Abdul Rahman launch the party’s operations centre in Semenyih February 15, 2019. — Picture by Hari Anggara
Datuk Seri Azmin Ali and Syed Saddiq Abdul Rahman launch the party’s operations centre in Semenyih February 15, 2019. — Picture by Hari Anggara

But as the incumbent, Syed Saddiq said PH has the advantage. The PPBM leader claimed Semenyih, once a sleepy town, had flourished under PH rule, and that its voters could feel the results themselves.

“They can see it,” he said.

Incumbent Bakhtiar Mohd Nor of PPBM died of heart attack on January 11 to force the by-election.

PH, who won the seat in the 14th general election with over 8,000 vote majority. PPBM had named 30-year-old engineer Muhammad Aiman Zainali as their candidate.

Barisan Nasional is banking on local Umno leader Zakaria Hanafi. PSM, which has considerable base there, is fielding Nik Aziz Afiq Abdul.