Pakatan’s Suhaizan and BN leaders to approach Umno’s grassroots to explain objectives of unity coalition

Malay Mail
Malay Mail

JOHOR BARU, Aug 26 — Pakatan Harapan (PH) candidate for the Pulai parliamentary by-election Suhaizan Kayat will meet with Barisan Nasional’s (BN) grassroots’ members, especially Umno at the branch levels, to explain the inter-coalition cooperation under the unity government.

The former Johor state legislative assembly speaker said proper engagement with Umno’s grassroots is needed because their branch leaders act as a very effective machinery in winning the hearts of the local voters.

“In fact, I will also be assisted by Umno vice president Datuk Seri Mohamed Khaled Nordin, who will assist in dispelling any confusion and dissatisfaction among the party’s grassroots.

“It was from a meeting with Khaled that came the approach to clarify the situation with Umno members at grassroots level.

“As an outsider, explaining such matters may be a little difficult.

“However, Umno has many good leaders such as Datuk Khaled and Datuk Seri Ahmad Maslan, who are both close to the party’s grassroots. In addition, they are also Johor Umno leaders who have a bond with the party’s local community,” said Suhaizan to reporters in an introductory session as the unity coalition’s candidate for Pulai at its PH operations room in Taman Perling here last night.

Present at the event were Johor DAP chairman, Liew Chin Tong, PKR’s Pasir Gudang MP Hassan Abdul Karim and Umno supreme council member Datuk Nur Jazlan Mohamed, who is also the Pulai Umno division chief.

On Friday, banners printed with the “Kami cawangan-cawangan Umno Pulai menolak calon Pakatan Harapan!!” (We the Pulai Umno branches reject the Pakatan Harapan candidate!!) had been up by persons unknown in at least six areas neighbourhoods in the constituency, including in Taman Perling, ahead of nomination yesterday.

Following that, it was reported yesterday that Nur Jazlan gave his assurance to PH and also to Suhaizan that his Umno division is fully behind the unity coalition candidate to defend the Pulai parliamentary seat from rivals Perikatan Nasional (PN).

Suhaizan, who is the Johor Parti Amanah Negara (Amanah) vice chairman, explained that that previously the explanation to BN, especially Umno members, was not comprehensive enough.

He added that if the explanation reached the party’s grassroots, perhaps it can give a clearer understanding on the current PH-BN cooperation.

Suhaizan, who is a seasoned state and parliamentary candidate, said that PH had also learned from its previous weaknesses when it did not focus on attracting Umno grassroots support in the previous Johor state elections last year.

“This time we aim to change that by specifically convincing Umno’s grassroots,” he said.

In the upcoming Pulai parliamentary by-election, Suhaizan will lock horns with PN’s candidate Zulkifli Jaafar and independent hopeful Samsudin Mohamad Fauzi.

In previous 15th general election (GE15), incumbent Datuk Seri Salahuddin Ayub successfully defended the Pulai parliamentary seat after obtaining 64,900 votes, defeating closest rival BN’s Nur Jazlan who obtained 31,726 votes, while the PN candidate Loh Kah Yong managed 20,677 votes.

The by-election for Pulai and Simpang Jeram was called following the death of Datuk Seri Salahuddin Ayub on July 23 due to a brain haemorrhage. He was 61.

He was the elected representative for both seats.

Salahuddin was also the Amanah deputy president and had served as the Domestic Trade and Cost of Living Minister.

The Election Commission has set polling for both Pulai parliamentary and Simpang Jeram state seats by-elections on September 9 while early voting on September 5.