KUALA LUMPUR, Oct 2 — Incumbent Johor Baru MP Tan Sri Shahrir Samad welcomed his younger brother Khalid Samad from another party to make a bid for his seat at the 14th general elections.
The Barisan Nasional (BN) lawmaker was far from feeling any sibling rivalry as he had previously signalled that he would not be defending his seat, which he has held since Election 2008, in the next polls.
Instead, Shahrir said Khalid who is in Parti Amanah Negara may face competition from allies in the four-party Pakatan Harapan (PH) pact, noting they each have been sending representatives to canvass voters in the area recently.
“Didn’t realise JB has become so attractive to each of PH’s component parties,” the 67-year-old laughingly told Malay Mail Online when contacted for comment.
“I am a firm believer of competition and choice because these will enhance the quality of service to the people. BN JB do not see competition and choice as threats but as our own political philosophy,” he added.
Shahrir said his seat had been assigned to PKR in Election 2013, adding that since then, an aide of Pandan MP Rafizi Ramli has been seen “occasionally” in the parliamentary constituency.
“This shows two things — one, Rafizi no longer counts as a major decision-maker in PKR and PH; two, JB voters will be spoilt for choice, come GE 14 now that Amanah is also eyeing the seat,” he said.
He also said local “coffeeshop talk” has been about how keen Parti Pribumi Bersatu Malaysia (PPBM) members were to contest in JB on top of speculation that DAP parliamentary leader Lim Kit Siang — currently Gelang Patah MP — or recent recruit Datuk Zaid Ibrahim may be fielded there.
“Obviously, PH party leaders feel that JB voters deserve a better representative than me after all these years and their exemplary service records in their own areas should be extended to JB for the benefit of JB residents,” Shahrir said.
Khalid, who is seven years younger than Shahrir, announced on Friday that he would be surrendering his Shah Alam seat to Mohamad Sabu to contest, adding that the move was to allow the Amanah president to have a voice in Parliament.
Khalid is serving his second term as Shah Alam MP after winning the seat twice on a PAS ticket.
Mohamad, better known as Mat Sabu, has not won an election since 2004.