Bagan Pinang by election: Internal gloom may doom Bagan Pinang for BN
Political rivalry within Umno, MIC and MCA seems to be putting a serious damper in BN’s attempt to break its by-election jinx of eight straight defeats suffered at the hands of Pakatan Rakyat in Peninsular Malaysia.
Political grudges, enmity and jealousy from the past and the present in Umno circles appear to be hounding former party vice-president Mohd Isa Abdul Samad (extreme left) in his bid to be selected as the BN candidate for the Bagan Pinang state by-election.
During the rise and fall of his political carrier in the party, Mohd Isa had crossed swords with many party political leaders and is now paying the price for his battles and duels with other party leaders as well.
Many senior party leaders are now using the past party corruption charge against Isa to denying him the opportunity to contest the by-election.
Mohd Isa was suspended for three years from June 24, 2005 for alleged money politics in the 2004 party elections.
The former Negeri Sembilan menteri besar was originally suspended for six years or two terms but this was reduced after he appealed.
Among political leaders who oppose Mohd Isa’s candidacy are Gua Musang MP Tengku Razaleigh and former premier Dr Mahathir Mohamad.
Mohd Isa was once considered to be a blue-eyed boy of Mahathir.
But Mohd Isa, who heads the Umno Teluk Kemang division, seems to be the favourite candidate and was selected by his division to contest.
However, in his attempt to make a come-back, Isa faces stiff resistance from Umno leaders who want a greater variety in the number of candidates before a selection is made for the by-election.
Enemies in high places, past and present
The Bagan Pinang seat fell vacant following the death of Umno’s Azman Mohd Noor, 55, on Sept 4.
A close friend of Mohd Isa told Malaysiakini today that the aspiring candidate has made many enemies in the party.
“Political grudges, enmity and jealousy seem to be the order of the day in Umno to prevent Isa from climbing up the party’s political ladder through this state seat. These leaders should think objectively and not subjectively if they want BN to win the state seat,” he said.
When told that Bagan Pinang is a safe seat for Umno, he disagreed.
“Nothing is considered a safe seat due to the prevailing political situation in the country.”
“Party leaders must put party’s interests before their own self interest, otherwise the seat may go to the opposition,” he said.
He claimed that Razaleigh (left) was against Mohd Isa because the latter had supported Mahathir during the former’s bid for the party president’s post.
The source also claimed that there is a split in the state party as many of the members want Mohd Isa, upon winning the state seat, to replace the present Menteri Besar Mohamad Hasan as the state leader.
Mahathir had stated that if Umno is serious in eliminating money politics and corruption, it should choose a party candidate who is clean and not Mohd Isa to regain the support of the voters.
According to the source, now it seems that Mahathir is allegedly supporting Hasan to ouster Mohd Isa from the candidates list.
‘MIC not confident of Indian vote’
According to the Election Commission records as of Sept 4, the Bagan Pinang constituency has 13,664 registered voters, including 4,604 postal voters, comprising 8,577 Malays (62.77 percent), 2,834 Indians (20.74 percent), 1,498 Chinese (10.96 percent) and 755 others (5.53 percent).
Nominations for the by-election has been set for Oct 3 and if there is a contest polling has been set for Oct 11.
According to a former MIC party leader, the Indian based party is having problems reaching out to the 2,834 Indian voters to win support for the BN in the coming by-election.
His advice is that MIC party president S Samy Vellu must not participate in this by- election as he is considered a liability when getting the Indian votes to swing to for the BN.
When contacted, former party vice-president M Muthupalaniappan (right) said that he has been side-lined by Samy in the party’s attempt to win votes for the BN in this by-election.
However, Muthu, who claimed that he has the full support of the Indian community, said this will not discourage him from going to the ground to campaign for BN.
“(Premier) Najib (Abdul Razak) is trying to uplift the social economic status of the Indian community and as such I shall try my level best to ensure that BN retains this state seat,” he reasoned.
Muthu had tried to contest against Samy Vellu for the party’s top post but failed and now claims that he has since patched up with the president.
But his recent failure to secure a Central Working Committee seat in the recent party’s election on Sept 12, says otherwise as he is still considered as being sidelined by the party leadership.
Published: Tuesday September 22, 2009 MYT 2:31:00 PM
Dr M: Corruption-free candidate important for Bagan Pinang
SEREMBAN: Umno should pick a candidate who is free of money politics (vote-buying) for the Bagan Pinang state by-election, former prime minister Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad said on Tuesday.
He believed that the Barisan Nasional could win the by-election on Oct 11 with a big majority because the seat was Umno’s stronghold.
Having corruption-free candidates would be a very important factor in Bagan Pinang as well as in the next general election, he told reporters after attending Mentri Besar Datuk Seri Mohamad Hasan’s Aidilfitri open house in Rantau here.
“For me, it’s not just this place. The people throughout Malaysia want to know whether we are serious about eradicating money politics, corruption and so forth,” he said.
If Umno fielded an candidate who was not clean, it might win in Bagan Pinang but would lose in other constituencies, he said.
He also feared that the party would lose badly in the 13th general election if the trend continued.
“I’m not thinking about individuals. I know everyone and I don’t care about anyone but I’m thinking only of the party,” he said.
The Bagan Pinang seat fell vacant following the death of incumbent Azman Mohamad Noor of the Barisan on Sept 4. Nomination is on Oct 3. — Bernama