BAGAN DATUK (Nov 28): Umno president Datuk Seri Dr Ahmad Zahid Hamidi has expressed hope that the party will be given a walkover in the Gerik parliamentary by-election in Perak, in view of the Covid-19 pandemic.
In connection with this, he also hoped that Parti Pribumi Bersatu Malaysia (Bersatu) and PAS, who are Umno’s partners in Perikatan Nasional (PN), would pave the way for Umno to defend its seat should it be contested.
The support of both parties is necessary for Umno to triumph again in its Gerik stronghold, he told reporters after attending a "Ziarah Kasih" programme here today.
The Election Commission (EC) has set Jan 16, 2021 for the Gerik parliamentary by-election following the death of its incumbent Datuk Hasbullah Osman, 63, on Nov 16 due to a heart attack.
In the 13th general election (GE13), Hasbullah defeated Norhayati Kasim from PAS with a majority of 6,216 votes and retained the seat in GE14 with a majority of 5,528 votes to win against PAS candidate Mohd Dahalan Ismail and Bersatu candidate Ibrahim Mohd Hanafiah.
On the potential candidate, Ahmad Zahid who is also the Barisan Nasional (BN) chairman, said the party would field a local candidate as that individual would have better knowledge and understanding of the problems in the area.
The Umno president said he would let Perak Umno liaison committee chairman Datuk Saarani Mohamad to hold in-depth discussions with the Gerik Division on the suitable candidate to contest in the by-election.
“We will choose the best among the best. We will shortlist the names when the Gerik Umno division provides them to the state liaison committee and then to me as the BN chairman to be finalised,” he said.
On the possibility of the Gerik parliamentary by-election being postponed due to emergency as what happened in Batu Sapi, Sabah, Ahmad Zahid said it may not happen as Gerik is in a green zone.
Meanwhile, Ahmad Zahid said Perak Umno liaison committee secretary Datuk Azian Osman has been appointed as deputy chairman to replace Hasbullah.