Bagan Pinang By Election: Ooops…its Isa
Andrew Ong, Abdul Rahim Sabri & Wong Teck Chi
Sep 29, 09
Umno will field its former vice-president Isa Samad, who was stripped of his post after being found guilty of money politics, in the forthcoming Bagan Pinang by-election in Negeri Sembilan.
Umno deputy president Muhyiddin Yassin made the announcement at the Barisan Nasional operations centre in Port Dickson at 5.15pm today.
Prior to naming the candidate, Muhyiddin asked the BN supporters who they wanted, to which they replied: “Isa”.
Quoting Prime Minister Najib Abdul Razak’s 1Malaysia slogan, Muhyiddin teased the crowd further by saying, “Sebab rakyat didahulukan, rakyat nak?” Once again, the crowd responded with a resounding “Isa”.About 10,000 people had gathered since 4pm to show their support for Isa.
Meanwhile, Najib arrived shortly after the announcement was made.
Isa, who is the former Negeri Sembilan menteri besar, was suspended from Umno in 2004 for six years after the disciplinary committee found him guilty of money politics during the party polls.
However, his suspension was reduced to three years following an appeal.
The Umno decision to pick him as the BN candidate is expected to draw controversy.
PAS decides on Zulkefly Mohd Omar
Meanwhile, PAS has confirmed that it will be fielding its Negeri Sembilan party chief Zulkefly Mohd Omar for the state seat.
The announcement was made by PAS president Abdul Hadi Awang during a ceramah later in the night in Teluk Kemang.
Zulkefly, 45, is a businessman who holds a masters degree in science and has six children.
His claim to fame includes successfully leading the Broga No-Incinerator Committee, which managed to pressure the government to scrap the construction of a ‘mega-incinerator’.
He has contested in three elections since 1999. His 2008 foray in the Lenggeng state seat saw him losing by a 1,285 majority.
The announcement was made at the DAP service centre, attended by about 500 people, a far cry from the thousands which attended the announcement of Isa’s candidacy hours earlier.
Speaking to reporters later at a ceramah tonight, said he is standing as a Pakatan candidate to bring change, adding that there was hope and there was a
chance of winning the contest.
“It now depends on the wisdom of the people,” he said.
PAS president Abdul Hadi Awang (left), who was also present,described Zulkefly as a capable, suitable and well educated candidate.
Hadi, however, refuses to divulge the issues that will be contested during
While acknowledging that PAS lost 12 out of 13 seats contested in the state during the last general election, Abdul Hadi said the recent by-election results
showed signs of change.
On whether the recent wranglings in Selangor Pakatan would affect the elections, he said the issued will be resolved.
“Masalah dalaman yang ditimbulkan oleh media akan diselesaikan. Tidak jadi masalah,” katanya.
“The internal problems in Selangor which were played up by the press will be resolved. It won’t be a problem,” he said.
Isa predicts a good win
Earlier today, speaking to reporters after he was announced as the candidate, Isa said that he was not found guilty of committing any criminal offence but instead of violating the party’s code of ethics.
“That was the words used – elections code of ethics – I have served a three year penalty. The matter does not arise anymore.
“There are those with criminal convictions, but people still accept them. Some have become chief minister, some are ministers,” he said.
He was also asked to comment on the strong objections raised by former premier Dr Mahathir Mohamad against Isa’s nomination, to which the candidate said: “I smiled”.
He predicted a big win for him based on the level of support shown by the grassroots for him and the heavy campaigning to be undertaken by the BN.
When asked on how he felt in contesting at the state level again after spending time as a cabinet minister, Isa said this was usual in politics.
“I have been a minister and the menteri besar, now I’m a BN candidate. To me this is okay because this is a perjuangan (struggle).
“When the party placed its trust in me, there is no reason for me to reject,” he said, adding that he was glad to finally have a shot at representing his home constituency for the first time.
His political career began in 1978 when he won the Linggi state seat, which he held till 2004. He contested and won the Jempol parliamentary seat in the 2004 general election and was subsequently made the Federal Territories Minister, the last government post he held before stepping down in 2005.
At the grassroots level, he has been Teluk Kemang Umno head since 1982.
He steadily rose up the ranks culminating in his being appointed Negeri Sembilan menteri besar following the general election of 1982.
DPM: Isa people’s choice
Muhyiddin meanwhile said the selection of Isa as the BN candidate was made because this was the wish of the local populace.
He said the decision was made after the top leadership had carried out a detailed survey at the grassroots level among the Malays, Chinese and Indians in the state constituency.
They had expressed their support for Isa because they had known the people-friendly leader for a long time and knew his contributions to the people of Port Dickson and Negeri Sembilan, he said.
“That’s why in my speech earlier, I did not make my own decision because of his popularity and also the wishes of the constituents. And they (the residents) said “Isa! Isa! Isa!” They mentioned it thrice, only then did I announce it because that is the choice of the voters here,” he told reporters at the Bagan Pinang Aidilfitri gathering.
The deputy prime minister said the decision was in favour of the voters because it was a by-election and the scenario was not the same as that of a general election.
“He may have a political history, just like I have my history and problems, but the local populace, the voters who know him inside-out are confident he is capable,” he said.
Muhyiddin said he knew that the opposition would exploit the various issues especially the one on money politics linked to Isa to discredit the leader.
Former Umno president Mahathir had previously objected to the possibility of fielding Isa, whom he considered a tainted leader.
Concurring with this view was former vice-president Tengku Razaleigh Hamzah, who also criticised Umno for fielding a disbarred lawyer in last month’s Permatang Pasir by-election which was won by Pakatan Rakyat.
In the case of Isa, the Umno veteran is said to wield considerable influence among the local grassroots.
The Bagan Pinang by-election will take place on Oct 11 after an eight-day campaigning period with nominations this Saturday.
The contest for the state seat was called following the death of Umno incumbent Azman Mohd Noor.
(With additional reporting by Bernama)
Isa is BN candidate for Bagan Pinang
Hemananthani Sivanandam and Meena L. Ramadas
PORT DICKSON (Sept 29, 2009) : Tan Sri Isa Abdul Samad, 59, who fell from grace when he was suspended by Umno for three years for involvement in money politics, has been named the Barisan Nasional candidate for the Bagan Pinang state by-election.
Tan Sri Isa Abdul Samad
Deputy Prime Minister Tan Sri Muhyiddin Yassin made the announcement in a Hari Raya gathering at the BN centre at Batu 6, Teluk Kemang today to loud cheers from the huge crowd of supporters, numbering about 14,000.
The by-election is scheduled for Oct 11 with nominations on Saturday.
The seat was won by BN with a majority of 2,333 in the last general election but it fell vacant after the death of Azman Mohammad Noor.
Isa, who had served as Negri Sembilan mentri besar for 22 years until 2004, thanked the BN for giving him “another chance”.
When news broke that Isa was nominated by the Teluk Kemang Umno Youth to contest Bagan Pinang, several quarters had expressed strong views that he should not be chosen as he had been tainted by money politics. Among those who opposed his candidacy was former premier Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad.
When asked about this, Isa said: “I just smiled at his (Mahathir’s) remarks.”
To a question on whether he was being sarcastic or just angry with Mahathir, he said: “No, I was not. I respect him very much.”
When told of the likely scenario of the opposition having a field day bringing up his tainted past, Isa said: “I did not commit a crime. I’m not a criminal. I just did not follow party election ethics and I was punished for that.”
He said his main aim now is to win the support of the people of Bagan Pinang and to win support for BN.
Before he went on stage to give a speech, Isa could not resist playing on the similarity of his name and the acronym for the Internal Security Act: “ISA is still needed and cannot be disposed.”
Muhyiddin said they had gone on the ground to assess the people’s feeling on the BN candidate and “it looks like they wanted Isa”.
He said Isa’s candidacy was decided based on popular demand, and he believed that it was the right decision.
“Although Isa had problems in his political history, the needs of the people are prioritised.”
Among those who turned up to give their support were MIC president Datuk S. Samy Vellu, Gerakan chief Tan Sri Dr Koh Tsu Koon, Umno Youth chief Khairy Jamaluddin, Umno vice-president Datuk Seri Hishammuddin Hussein, MCA vice-president Datuk Seri Liow Tiong Lai, and Wanita Umno president Datuk Seri Shahrizat Jalil.
Prime Minister Datuk Seri Najib Abdul Razak turned up briefly for the Hari Raya do after the announcement, but did not give a speech.
In an immediate reaction, Gerakan president Tan Sri Dr. Koh Tsu Koon lauded Isa as the popular choice of the people of Bagan Pinang, saying the party believes he can ensure BN’s victory in the coming by-election.
“From my 3 visits to Bagan Pinang in the past two weeks, feedback from the Indian and Chinese voters there was that very much prefer Isa, based on his amiable personality and solid service record,” said Koh who is also Minister in PM’s Department.
He added that Gerakan has set up an operation centre at Sua Betong, headed by the branch chairman R.Selvaraj, while the Election Campaign Committee is headed by Telok Kemang division chairman Chai Tek Loong.
Biodata: Tan Sri Isa Samad
1949: Born in Malacca
1973: Worked as a teacher in Seremban until 1978
1978: Won the Linggi state seat in Negri Sembilan. Was appointed state executive councillor until 1982
1982: Appointed Negri Sembilan mentri besar and served in that position for 22 years until 2004
2004: Won the Jempol parliamentary seat. Elected Umno vice–president.
2005: Appointed Federal Territories Minister but resigned the post within a year after being suspended by Umno for six years for involvement in money politics. However, the suspension was reduced to three years on appeal.