JOHOR BARU, June 24 — Johor Umno deputy chief Datuk Nur Jazlan Mohamed today issued a challenge to his party and Barisan Nasional (BN) leaders with ministerial posts in the government to contest in the Pulai federal constituency for the coming 15th general election (GE15).

He said he welcomed those leaders who had also criticised him for being part of the 14th general election (GE14) “losers’ cluster” to stand as candidates in the Pulai seat, as he will not be seeking to reclaim the constituency for Umno and BN.

The former three-term Pulai MP said that he welcomed those Umno leaders supporting Perikatan Nasional (PN) to prove their point.

“Since they compared my previous defeat with their total wins in their respective safe parliament seats, I welcome these ‘Umno heroes’ to contest in Pulai,” he said, adding that most of his critics won in Malay-majority areas that supported Umno.

“Please come and contest in city seats such as Pulai, Johor Baru and Pasir Gudang, where the Malay-Chinese voter ratio is almost equal.

“Feel for yourself how painful it is to attract votes, especially from the Chinese. At the same time, they can try to persuade the urban Malay voters to go out and see if they will support BN like before,” said Nur Jazlan in a post on his official Facebook here today.

His post, laced with sarcasm, was believed to be in response to earlier criticisms by several BN ministers for his recent statement labelling Datuk Seri Ismail Sabri Yaakob as the weakest prime minister from Umno in the country’s history as the latter allegedly could not make decisions or stamp his power.

Previously, Nur Jazlan had also been slammed for questioning the party loyalty of several Umno leaders who are known to be closely linked to former prime minister Tan Sri Muhyiddin Yassin’s Parti Pribumi Bersatu Malaysia (Bersatu) and its ally PAS in the PN coalition.

Malay Mail also reached out to Nur Jazlan who confirmed that the posting was his personal view.

However, Nur Jazlan indicated to his critics in Ismail Sabri’s administration that Pulai was a marginal parliamentary seat with almost equal Malay and Chinese voters unlike their current Malay majority seats.

He explained that the results of the past Johor state election suggests clearly that the ruling coalition will lose.

“With the current percentage of voters being quite low, as well as there being no change in Chinese voter support for Malay and BN candidates, I know I will lose if I contest.

“The Pulai parliamentary seat is a marginal seat, where the percentage of Malay and Chinese voters is close to being equal.

“Let’s say I contest and receive 70 per cent of the Malay votes, but the Chinese votes do not support me. I still stand to lose,” said Nur Jazlan

Nur Jazlan said that the results of the recent state election for the state seats of Kempas and Perling that make up the Pulai federal constituency painted a bleak picture for him if he contests.

“As a trained accountant, the numbers made sense and is accepted as the truth. When one calculates and the result comes out as ‘0’, it is a fact that you can’t change that numeral to something higher,” he said.

Nur Jazlan also lamented that the GE14 in 2018 has taught him enough to know how unappreciative the Chinese voters in Pulai can be.

He said that even being half-Chinese and supporting the community did not give him any advantage.

“So, enough for now and let others have a chance at contesting here instead,” he said.

However, Nur Jazlan added that it was up to the party’s leadership to decide on who will be a candidate for the Pulai parliamentary seat.

He also suggested for MCA president Datuk Seri Wee Ka Siong, who is also the party’s Johor chapter chief, to move from his Ayer Hitam federal seat to Pulai.

“Maybe Wee can attract the Chinese voters in Pulai to re-elect him as its new MP. At the same time it is to also prove his claim that the Chinese community have returned to BN based on his Johor state election prediction,” he said.

Nur Jazlan also welcomed former minister and Umno’s outspoken Padang Rengas MP Datuk Seri Nazri Abdul Aziz to contest in Pulai.

“Nazri is always proud of his big win in the Malay majority constituency.

“Perhaps with his stature as one of the most senior MPs in BN, Nazri can win big in Pulai. At that time, he can boast that he is a real hero and warlord in Umno and BN,” he said.

Nur Jazlan also named Health Minister Khairy Jamaluddin Abu Bakar to consider his offer to stand as a candidate in Pulai.

He said Umno’s Rembau MP had also made a big sacrifice by ‘willingly’ handing over his Rembau seat to Umno deputy president Datuk Seri Mohamad Hasan for the coming general election.

“I am being gracious to give way to KJ who is looking for another seat to contest in GE15.

“I also think the Pulai seat is suitable for KJ because of the multi-racial voter ratios of 48 per cent Malay; 40 per cent Chinese; 12 per cent Indian making a total of 160,000 registered voters,” he said, using the popular initials for Khairy.

Nur Jazlan added that the Pulai seat is like a Keluarga Malaysia parliament seat, taking a swipe at the Umno and BN leaders in the current government that upholds IsmailSabri’s nation-building concept.

Yesterday, it was reported that several Umno leaders expressed their disagreement over Nur Jazlan’s move in openly criticising Ismail Sabri.

They pointed out that the Johor Umno leader did not understand how the government works and should have used proper internal channels instead.