SHAH ALAM, Nov 24 — The Opposition’s victory in taking back the Tanjung Piai parliamentary seat was largely due to PAS president Datuk Seri Abdul Hadi Awang, his Umno counterpart Datuk Seri Ahmad Zahid Hamidi disclosed today.
Zahid, who is also Barisan Nasional (BN) chairman, said it was Hadi who nominated MCA for the by-election, contrary to the ruling Pakatan Harapan’s portrayal of the Islamist as a racist.
“When the Tanjung Piai seat became vacant, Hadi was the first one who whispered to me for it to be contested by MCA.
“If PAS is called too extreme and narrow-minded, surely we won’t see the open mindedness of the PAS president who sees this cooperation as something big and he actually is very visionary in politics,” he said in his speech at the launch of the Selangor PAS-Umno Muafakat Nasional launch here last night.
Zahid’s remarks drew applause from the 600-strong audience.
He added that the Tanjung Piai by-election proved that the PAS-Umno alliance worked and countered allegations that the pact was against non-Muslims and non-Malays.
“Not only because of the 42 per cent of the Chinese voters but the success of Muafakat Nasional also means that Umno is not narrow-minded in terms of the distribution of seats to BN allies,” he added.
Zahid claimed the pact’s success in Johor can be replicated in Selangor, but only if members of the two Malay Muslim parties worked to maintain their current unity and refrained from clashing with each other.
MCA’s Datuk Seri Wee Jeck Seng, a two-term MP for Tanjung Piai until he was defeated in last year’s 14th general election by Bersatu’s Datuk Dr Md Farid Md Rafik, reclaimed the parliamentary seat with a record 15,086 votes in the November 16 poll.
Post by-election, independent research firm Ilham Centre said Tanjug Piai voters were disenchanted with PH’s unfulfilled pledges, poor communications and leadership as well as generally unhappy about the state of the country’s economy as reasons for the governing coalition’s loss.