Bersatu sec-gen says Perikatan can win KKB contest as voters feel they are ‘living in a dire state’

Malay Mail
Malay Mail

KUALA LUMPUR, April 21 — The Perikatan Nasional (PN) Opposition has a chance to wrest Kuala Kubu Baru in next month’s Selangor state by-election if the ruling Pakatan Harapan (PH) fields a DAP candidate, Parti Pribumi Bersatu Malaysia (Bersatu) secretary-general Datuk Seri Hamzah Zainudin said.

In an interview with Utusan Malaysia’s weekend edition, Mingguan Malaysia, Hamzah said that voters do not care about a political candidate’s race nor party, but rather his or her leadership traits in advocating their wellbeing.

“From the research we have done, there is room or opportunity this time, for the first time, for a DAP candidate to lose in the election and if it is true, it means that the political landscape in this country will be something different from the past. It will give the impression that voters are more mature,” he was quoted saying.

The Selangor state seat fell vacant following the death of its incumbent, DAP’s Lee Kee Hiong, on March 21.

The 58-year-old had been the Kuala Kubu Baru assemblyman under the Hulu Selangor parliamentary constituency since 2013.

On April 4, the Election Commission (EC) set April 27 as nomination day, with early voting taking place on May 7 ahead of polling day on May 11.

As for Bersatu’s choice of candidate, Hamzah said that the party will take Kuala Kubu Baru’s voter demographics into consideration, in its candidate selection process.

“The percentage of Malay voters there has reached 48 per cent and non-Malay voters 52 per cent. Of the 52 per cent, 18 per cent are Indians. Meaning, there are 34 per cent left from the Chinese and other races. If you exclude the Orang Asli group there who are about four per cent, it means that other races are only about 30 per cent.

“So, all of that should be taken into account for us to decide, that is the party president together with several committees established to determine who is the suitable candidate.

“The people as a whole, not just the Malays, feel that they are living in a dire state. The question of whether the candidate is Malay or not is another matter. The question is, whether the people today live in a comfortable state or not. That is more important, because this country needs all, not just one race. All the races that exist,” the Bersatu secretary general said.

Hamzah emphasised his commitment to his role as the Opposition leader, stating that he doesn't merely oppose government initiatives, but also rigorously scrutinises and balances government policies and legal implementations, to ensure they benefit all segments of the community, not just one.

“We speak up for the people. Assessing from what we do in Parliament, we always voice something that is really for the people.

“For example, the rice supply problem. We raised it from the beginning, we asked why there is no local rice supply and the government denied what we raised.

“They (government) talk about freedom of speech. This is the will of the people. Today all these have become something big. A big issue because, the people feel that what we want to voice is made to seem as wrongdoing. Criticising does not equate inciting. Criticism is something that can be beneficial to anyone, to leaders and even to the whole of our own country,” he said, adding that it is the duty of MPs to question unfairness in any actions or legal matters.

He said that government MPs should also not just enact decisions according to the wants of the prime minister.

Not PN’s fault if you don’t want to vote our non-Malay candidates

Hamzah also refuted the notion that PN is a Malay-Muslim-centric coalition primarily focused on issues concerning the Malay community and Islamic affairs. He expressed dismay, attributing this characterisation to the influence of “a certain leader” who has amplified negative sentiments.

He also said that it is not PN’s fault if non-Malays reject the coalition’s nominations of non-Malay candidates.

“Our strength lies across the entire nation. The problem is that it has been influenced by the perception of certain leaders. All PN leaders, whether from Bersatu, PAS, Gerakan, and others, are open to recognising the presence of many non-Malays with us. We are very inclusive. This demonstrates that PN is not solely advocating for Islam, but our struggle is for the entire nation and all its people.

“If we win and the majority of our Members of Parliament are Malay, whose fault is it? We have Gerakan; we field candidates in non-Malay areas. It’s the non-Malays who don’t want them. So, don’t blame us by saying we are Malay-centric. It’s you who don’t want Gerakan. It’s not our fault that non-Malays don’t want Chinese candidates.

“When we nominate candidates, there are non-Malays too, but you’re the ones who don’t want them. So, why blame us, who are now only seen as Malay or Bumiputera? Yes, 100 per cent Bumiputera, that’s true. Members of Parliament are 100 per cent Bumiputera. But in terms of elections, we field many who are not Bumiputera. But you’re the ones who don’t want them, so why blame us? This is the perception,” Hamzah said, adding that this should therefore not be pinned as a blame on PN.