PONTIAN, July 11 — Johor Umno plans to contest the Simpang Renggam parliamentary seat at the 15th general election (GE15), said state liaison committee chief Datuk Hasni Mohammad.
He said the seat was previously contested by Parti Gerakan Rakyat Malaysia (Gerakan), which was no longer a member of Barisan Nasional.
“Gerakan’s former seat in Simpang Renggam is seen as suitable for Umno and the proposal to contest there would be forwarded to BN’s central leadership,” said Hasni to reporters after distributing korban meat for the Pontian Umno division and Benut state assembly seat at Rumah Umno Benut in Jalan Jaafar here today
Also present was Umno secretary-general Datuk Seri Ahmad Maslan, who is also the Pontian MP, and the Pontian Umno division leadership.
Hasni, who is also the Benut assemblyman, explained that previously, Umno had contested 16 parliamentary seats in Johor as part of BN in the 2018 general election.
MCA had contested seven seats while MIC and Gerakan were allocated one seat each.
Gerakan left BN after its 2018 general election defeat to become an independent party, but has since become a component in the rival Perikatan Nasional.
“However, the coming general election Umno is keen to contest the Simpang Renggam seat.
“If there is no change, we will propose to BN’s central leadership for Umno to contest 17 seats in Johor for GE15,” said Hasni.
Recently, the former Johor mentri besar has been instrumental in preparing the state Umno chapter for the general election.
Hasni was credited with engineering BN’s landslide victory in the March Johor election when the coalition won 40 of the 56 state seats.
In 2018, the Simpang Renggam parliamentary seat was won by Maszlee Malik with a 3,475 majority over Gerakan’s candidate Liang Teck Meng who managed only 14,682 votes.
At that time, Maszlee contested under Parti Pribumi Bersatu Malaysia’s (Bersatu) ticket when the party had been in the Pakatan Harapan (PH) coalition.
It is understood that Maszlee will defend the seat as a PKR candidate, having joined the party after leaving Bersatu.