(Updated)

Bersatu will not contest in Sarawak polls, says Muhyiddin

Bersatu will not contest in Sarawak polls, says Muhyiddin
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MUAR (Nov 27): Bersatu president Tan Sri Muhyiddin Yassin on Saturday (Nov 27) announced that the party will not contest in the Sarawak state election next month.

Muhyiddin, who is also the Perikatan Nasional (PN) chairman, said Bersatu decided on this following a meeting with Gabungan Parti Sarawak (GPS) chairman Tan Sri Abang Johari Tun Openg recently.

“Although we believe we can win in certain areas, Bersatu will not contest in Sarawak out of respect for the wish of the GPS leadership. This move is to ensure that the party that is already in Sarawak can score an excellent win," he told a press conference after opening the third delegates meeting of the Pagoh Bersatu division here on Saturday.

Muhyiddin also said Bersatu chose to stay out of the contest because it believes GPS had the ability to win and that GPS supported the PN-led federal government when he was the prime minister.

However, he said Abang Johari indicated that he might consider having friendly parties like PN fight alongside GPS in the 15th general election (GE15).

“The most important thing to emerge from the meeting [with Abang Johari] is GPS’ view on the need to retain existing seats,” he said.

The Election Commission has set Dec 6 for nomination, Dec 14 for early voting and Dec 18 for polling in the 12th Sarawak state election, which will see 82 seats up for grabs.

On the resignation of Bersatu vice-president Datuk Mohd Rafiq Naizamohideen as the Melaka PN chairman and Melaka Bersatu chief, Muhyiddin said his successor will be named soon.

Muhyiddin, the Member of Parliament for Pagoh, said it was honourable of Mohd Rafiq to step down and allow the state party leadership to be reshuffled after the Melaka state election.

“It is clear he is giving way to a new leadership and this is an honourable move. I will decide on his replacement or any other changes in a few days’ time,” Muhyiddin said.

On Friday, Mohd Rafiq announced that he was relinquishing his state posts with immediate effect to make way for a new leadership so that they would have enough time to prepare for GE15.

Asked about Umno's proposal for GE15 to be expedited, Muhyiddin said he had requested Prime Minister Datuk Seri Ismail Sabri Yaakob to hold discussions to determine a suitable time to hold the election.

“I have informed the prime minister to hold discussions to determine the suitable time. Maybe at the prime minister's level, in accordance with the Constitution, it will be raised with Yang di-Pertuan Agong Al-Sultan Abdullah Ri'ayatuddin Al-Mustafa Billah Shah.

“But I am sure considerations will be given to the situation and the cooperation forged among political parties under the memorandum of understanding to stabilise the political situation,” said Muhyiddin, who is also the Pagoh state assemblyman. 

On Nov 21, Umno deputy president Datuk Seri Mohamad Hasan, who is the Rantau state assemblyman in Negeri Sembilan, said that it is appropriate for GE15 to be held soon.