MUAR, Nov 5 — Now former Segamat MP, Datuk Seri Edmund Santhara Kumar said he chose to not contest in the 15th general election despite being announced as Parti Bangsa Malaysia’s candidate, in order to have a “cooling off period”.
Speaking to Malay Mail, Santhara claimed he also wanted to let voters in the constituency experience the service of another elected representative, in order for them to better evaluate his performance.
“Cooling off period. Let the public compare the service record between mine and the new MP. My supporters knew about that decision.
“Let the public decide. Also cooling period is important,” he said via text message, when contacted.
Santhara did not attend the nomination process this morning and the final candidate list from the Election Commission confirmed he will not be defending.
His omission was a surprise as Parti Bangsa Malaysia (PBM) named him as its candidate to defend the seat two days ago.
He won Segamat on a PKR ticket in the 2018 general election with 5,476-vote majority over his closest challenger, Datuk Seri Dr S. Subramaniam from Barisan Nasional (BN), and PAS’ Khairul Faizi Ahmad Kamil.
In 2020, he defected to Bersatu as part of the so-called “Sheraton Move”, after which he was made deputy minister in both the Muhyiddin and Ismail Sabri administrations. He subsequently left Bersatu for PBM this year.
Segamat will now see a four-cornered battle between BN, Pakatan Harapan, Perikatan Nasional and Parti Pejuang Tanah Air (Pejuang).
BN is represented by Tan Sri M. Ramasamy, Syed Hairoul Faizey Syed Ali will contest for Pejuang, R. Yuneswaran for PH and Poobalan Ponnusamy for PN.
Last month, Santhara told news portal The Vibes that he intended to defend his Segamat parliamentary seat to continue executing “numerous people-oriented initiatives” there for another term.
In the interview, he also claimed to have spent over RM1 million of his own money on the Johor parliamentary constituency on top of government allocations.