PONTIAN, Oct 30 — Barisan Nasional (BN) revealed tonight its candidate for the Tanjung Piai by-election, MCA’s Datuk Seri Wee Jeck Seng, who, at 55, is not that much younger than his Pakatan Harapan (PH) opponent as touted earlier by the pact.
The announcement was made by Johor BN chief Datuk Hasni Mohammad and MCA president Datuk Seri Wee Ka Siong at the coalition’s Tanjung Piai by-election command centre along Jalan Umno here.
Also present were Johor Umno liaison committee secretary Datuk Samsul Bari Jamali, Tanjung Piai Umno division chief Datuk Jefridin Atan and Johor MIC deputy chief S. Suppyah.
They were joined by more than 500 supporters.
During the announcement, Hasni said Wee was an ideal candidate after BN chairman Datuk Seri Dr Ahmad Zahid Hamidi and all component party leaders had considered grassroots sentiments.
“After evaluating and taking into account the various factors through discussions and meetings with BN’s top leadership, we were unanimous in naming Wee as BN’s candidate for the Tanjung Piai parliamentary by-election.
“Based on his contributions, dedication, leadership and experience, BN is confident that Wee has the qualities and credibility needed to be the best candidate,” said Hasni at a press conference after the announcement.
Meanwhile, Jefridin had also denied that there was a campaign by Tanjung Piai Umno to boycott the by-election campaign, following strong rumours today.
“If there is a boycott, I won’t be present at the announcement event tonight.
“For me, Tanjung Piai Umno will pledge our full support to Datuk Seri Wee (Jeck Seng) as he is also a known friend of ours,” said Jefridin who is also the BN Tanjung Piai by-election operations director.
The Tanjung Piai Umno division had previously nominated their leader Jefridin Atan for the contest.
Wee, a Pontian Kechil native, began his political career by joining MCA in 1989 before contesting the Pekan Nanas state legislative seat and winning it by defeating DAP’s Tan Hang Meng in the 2004 general election.
In the 2008 general election, he contested and won the Tanjung Piai parliamentary seat by defeating DAP’s Ahmad Ton with a majority of 12,371 votes.
Following that, he again retained his parliamentary seat for a second term in the 2013 general election after defeating DAP’s Mahdzir Ibrahim with a majority of 5,457 votes.
However, he lost to Pakatan Harapan’s (PH) Datuk Dr Md Farid Md Rafik in last year’s general election.
Wee was also appointed the Youth and Sports Deputy Minister from March 19, 2008 until June 3, 2010.
Yesterday, Parliamentary Opposition Leader Datuk Seri Ismail Sabri Yaakob said BN will field a candidate younger than PH’s for the Tanjung Piai by-election.
The Umno vice-president said PH’s nomination of Datuk Karmaine Sardini, who is 66, goes against the “new Malaysia” narrative that should promote young leaders to the fore.
This comes after Johor Umno chief Hasni mocked Karmaine’s age in a rally, saying the Bersatu candidate is already 66 years old.
Hasni was quoted saying he hopes there will be no by-election again in the near future, referring to the death of the incumbent MP Datuk Dr Mohamed Farid Md Rafik that triggered the poll.