JOHOR BARU, Aug 24 — Barisan Nasional (BN) is confident that there will not be a wave of “Malay protest votes” against the unity coalition, as suggested by Perikatan Nasional (PN) leaders, for the upcoming Pulai parliamentary by-elections next month.
BN Pulai chief Datuk Nur Jazlan Mohamed said Malays in Johor are distinct and will not be affected by the recent PN wave that happened in several states during the recent six state elections.
“The Johor Malays are more objective when it comes to such matters, especially those touching on religious and racial values.
“In Johor, the Malays go through an official religious education (Sekolah Agama Johor) under the state government, unlike in certain states where the religious syllabus is not controlled.
“This is where the Johor Malays are different as they are moderate in their outlook and won’t be easily swayed by religious or racial sentiments,” said Nur Jazlan when met at the Thistle Hotel here today.
He was responding to PN chairman Tan Sri Muhyiddin Yassin’s claim yesterday that the federal Opposition expects a win in the Pulai parliamentary and Simpang Jeram state by-elections if 90 per cent of the Malay voters come out to vote for them.
Earlier, Nur Jazlan was attending a Pakatan Harapan (PH) candidate introductory session for the Pulai parliamentary and Simpang Jeram state by-elections that was attended by Parti Amanah Negara (Amanah) president Mohamad Sabu and the party’s top leadership.
Nur Jazlan, an Umno supreme council member, added that the notion of a so called “PN green wave” was unlikely to happen in Pulai.
“PAS, which is one of the main purveyors of the ‘PN green wave’, do not have a strong foothold in Johor, especially the southern parts of the state.
“As a former Pulai MP and the Pulai Umno division chief, I can say that it is statistically unlikely for PN to get 90 per cent of the Malay votes in the by-elections, especially in Pulai.
“In the previous 15th general election last year, the late Datuk Seri Salahuddin Ayub won with 65,000 votes, while I received about 33,000 votes and the PN candidate got about 20,000 votes.
“So, logically my 33,000 votes should transfer to the PH-BN candidate, giving the unity coalition a comfortable lead,” he explained.
Nur Jazlan said that as part of his commitment, the Pulai Umno division would also be mobilising its machinery to assist the PH-BN campaign in support of Johor Amanah vice-chairman Suhaizan Kaiat.
Yesterday, PN named local businessman Zulkifli Jaafar as PN’s candidate for the Pulai by-election, while consultant surgeon Dr Mohd Mazri Yahya is the coalition’s candidate for Simpang Jeram.
Last Saturday, Amanah announced former Johor state legislative assembly speaker Suhaizan as the PH-BN candidate for Pulai, while former engineer Nazri Abdul Rahman will contest Simpang Jeram.
The Election Commission has fixed nomination day for both the Pulai parliamentary and Simpang Jeram state by-elections for this Saturday and polling for September 9, while early voting falls on September 5.
The two by-elections were called after Salahuddin, who was the incumbent for both seats, died on July 23 due to a brain haemorrhage. He was 61.
Salahuddin was Amanah deputy president and the domestic trade and cost of living minister.