Question marks remain over status of 3 Umno seats

K. Kabilan

In light of BN chairman Ahmad Zahid Hamidi's move to drop several veteran Umno lawmakers as candidates for the general election, questions remain as to the status of the Tanjung Karang, Jempol, and Kuala Nerus seats. – The Malaysian Insight pic by Nazir Sufari, November 1, 2022.

In light of Barisan Nasional (BN) chairman Ahmad Zahid Hamidi’s move to drop several veteran Umno lawmakers as election candidates, questions remain as to the status of three seats.

Two of these are held by incumbents who are among the names predicted to be dropped. 

A third seat reportedly involves a parachute candidate formerly from PAS who had caused some rumbling in the local Umno division. 

This evening, Zahid did not reveal the candidates for Tanjung Karang, Jempol, and Kuala Nerus. All three seats had been in the news in recent days for different reasons. 

Earlier today, video clips started emerging showing Noh Omar’s supporters in tears after hearing news of him being dropped from contesting in Tanjung Karang. 

Just hours before Zahid’s announcement, a video clip had shown a morose-looking Noh walking out of a service centre while his supporters shouted their support for him. 

Noh is a six-term MP of Tanjung Karang and widely seen as a party warlord in Selangor. He is also the Selangor Umno and BN chief. 

However, word on the street is that Zahid was not keen to retain Noh and planned to drop him along with other veterans who were also ministers in Ismail Sabri Yaakob’s cabinet. 

These ministers are Ismail’s supporters, and apart from Noh, it included Shahidan Kassim (Arau), Annuar Musa (Ketereh), Adham Baba (Tenggara), and Halimah Mohamed Sadique (Kota Tinggi). Also in the category is Tajuddin Abdul Rahman (Pasir Salak) and deputy minister Zahidi Zainul Abidin (Padang Besar). 

In his announcement, Zahid dropped all of them and replaced them with new candidates, apart from Noh. 

Noh was present at the party headquarters when the candidate list was announced.  

Zahid also did not announce any candidate for Jempol in Negri Sembilan. 

Earlier today, the Umno/BN service centres in that constituency were shut down after incumbent Mohd Salim Mohd Sharif was said to have been left out as a candidate by the Umno leadership.  

Umno Jempol division secretary Muhamad Zamri Omar claimed that it was the decision of the BN leadership to choose another individual.    

“We are going to close our operation centres at all the said branches as we cannot accept the decision made by the leadership.  

“Mohd Salim has indeed proven to provide the best service throughout his one term here.   

“We are worried that this Jempol parliament which was previously a white area has turned into a grey area, as everyone wants to close the operation room.    

“This is not a threat, not a protest, but we want the Jempol Umno Division head to remain as candidate for this seat,” he was quoted as saying.   

Likewise, last night, Umno/BN service centres that were aligned to Shahidan were also shut down. 

Earlier today, Annuar said he had not received any invitation to attend the announcement of candidates for the polls.  

Zahid also did not announce any candidate for the Kuala Nerus parliamentary seat. 

The local Umno division there had complained when it was reported that the Umno leadership had agreed to allow former PAS man Mohd Khairuddin Aman Razali to contest under the BN banner to retain the seat. 

Sources told The Malaysian Insight that Terengganu Umno only found out about Khairuddin’s nomination two days ago.

“It is true that PAS leader Khairuddin will contest on an Umno ticket to defend his seat in Kuala Nerus. 

“But the local division did not name Khairuddin as a candidate. The decision was made by the party’s top leadership,” he told The Malaysian Insight. 

He added that the Umno leadership in Kuala Lumpur may have agreed to name Khairuddin as their candidate in the hope of winning back the Kuala Nerus seat from PAS. 

However, he warned that the move could result in rejection and disappointment for the Kuala Nerus Umno division. 

Zahid’s decision not to announce the candidates for these three seats —Tanjong Karang, Jempol, and Kuala Nerus — may indicate that further talks are ongoing. 

As it is, there have been rumblings from Umno grassroots who are not happy about the choice of candidates. 

In places like Ampang and Port Dickson, the respective local Umno divisions showed displeasure over these seats being given to MCA and MIC.  

On another note, some of those predicted to be given seats, or given new seats, were confirmed. 

Topping the list is Umno deputy president Mohamad Hassan, who has been given Rembau, former Rembau MP Khairy Jamaluddin who gets Sungai Buloh, party vice president Khaled Noordin who will stand in Kota Tinggi and finance minister Tengku Zafrul Aziz who will contest in Kuala Selangor. 

Zahid also named MIC candidates for 10 seats despite reports that the party had boycotted the ceremony due to some disagreement over candidacy.

He later told reporters that candidates for five seats had not been finalised. The five seats are Tanjong Karang, Kuala Pilah, Kuala Nerus, Jempol, and Tumpat.

Kuala Pilah was won by Bersatu and Tumpat by PAS in the last general election.

Malaysia will vote on November 19. Early voting is on November 15. Nomination day is on November 5. – November 1, 2022.  

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