JOHOR BARU, March 25 ― In a surprise announcement last night, Johor Umno deputy chief Datuk Nur Jazlan Mohamed said that he will not be contesting the Pulai parliamentary constituency for the coming 15th general election (GE15).
He cited the challenging political climate as a reason, despite Barisan Nasional’s (BN) landslide victory in the recently concluded Johor state election.
“As the Pulai BN chief, I will not seek to contest in the coming general election as I feel that my time is up and BN has no place in Pulai anymore.
“I have seen my own voter base reduced from my first stint as an MP in the Pulai parliamentary constituency back in 2004, where I managed more than 70 per cent majority to only 40 per cent in the last general election in 2018.
“With that, Pulai BN needs to look for a suitable candidate to contest the parliamentary constituency for GE15,” said Nur Jazlan in his address to BN election volunteers at a thanksgiving ceremony held at the Kompleks Tan Sri Mohamed Rahmat in Tampoi here last night.
Also present was BN’s newly-elected Kempas assemblyman Datuk Ramlee Bohani and Perling candidate Nicole Tan Hiang Kee.
The event, attended by more than 200 BN volunteers from Umno, MCA, MIC and Friends of BN, was held in conjunction with the recently concluded Johor state election for the Perling and Kempas state seats.
Both state seats come under the Pulai parliamentary constituency which is part of the Johor Baru district.
Nur Jazlan was the Pulai MP for 14 years since 2004. In the previous 14th general election (GE14) in 2018, he lost his bid to defend the Pulai federal seat to Pakatan Harapan’s (PH) Datuk Seri Salahuddin Ayub.
Earlier in his speech, Nur Jazlan explained that new voter trends had made it difficult for BN to gauge their sentiments, unlike in the past,
The Pulai Umno division chief pointed out that despite BN being victorious by clinching 40 out of 56 state seats, the reality was that the coalition only averaged 43 per cent of all ballots cast.
“BN should have been able to clinch at least 60 per cent to be confident for the coalition to make a full comeback.
“Where are the remaining voters that could have made-up a bigger percentage for BN?” he questioned.
Based in the figures on the recently concluded Johor state polls, Nur Jazlan cautioned that BN is still not in a “comfortable” position for the coming general election.
“The Johor state election may have been won by BN, but don’t be overjoyed as (the figure also shows) we have lost our grassroots support.
“Sadly, this also makes it difficult for BN to reclaim Pulai,” said the 56-year-old outspoken politician.
Nur Jazlan, who is also the Johor deputy Umno chief, reminded those present that the general election may be called very soon.
He hopes that Pulai BN will not take the parliamentary contest for granted as an easy win based on the recently concluded landslide state election results.
“My report shows that BN will stand to lose the Pulai constituency for the coming general election, but we cannot afford to give up hope,” he said.
Nur Jazlan said the Pulai BN election machinery and volunteers needed to work sincerely rather than hoping for a larger election campaign budget for GE15.
“For the coming general election, I will not be able to come out with money (for the election campaign) anymore unlike in previous years.
“Please learn to use a smaller budget than the recent state election.
“I hope all the ladies and gentlemen here will still work hard as the candidate will not be me. Let us find a suitable candidate for BN Pulai,” reiterated Nur Jazlan, adding that his speech may not go down well with many present, but insisted that it was needed as a stern reminder.
Nur Jazlan is considered among one of the more senior Umno leaders in Johor, helming the party’s Pulai division chief’s post for the past 15 years.
Traditionally, as a senior Umno division chief, he will have a say to be named as a candidate to contest in the division’s state or parliamentary constituency.
BN’s lynchpin Umno is currently riding a wave of confidence with many of its leaders calling for a snap general election after the party’s performance in the recently concluded Johor and Melaka state elections.
The call for GE15 to be held soon was also at the top of Umno’s General Assembly’s agenda, starting with the its deputy president Datuk Seri Mohamad Hasan’s opening speech for the party’s wings last week.