'Mah is best man for the job'

PERFECT: Local man and former Teluk Intan MP is BN's candidate, says Muhyiddin
TELUK INTAN:  BARISAN Nasional deputy chairman Tan Sri Muhyiddin Yassin said  Gerakan president Datuk Mah Siew Keong was the best candidate for the Teluk Intan by-election.
Muhyiddin said as a local, Mah knew Teluk Intan like the back of his hand, adding that as the constituency's former member of parliament and one long involved in politics, Mah was a well-known figure among locals and fully understood the issues there.
"He served the constituents well when he was the elected representative and continued to serve them even after he lost the seat.
"Taking all that into consideration, we are confident that he is the best candidate to represent BN and to ensure BN recaptures the Teluk Intan parliamentary constituency.
"This by-election will be a revival of Gerakan under the leadership of Mah. I hope the voters will give him the chance this time around," he said after announcing Mah's candidacy at the grounds of the Teluk Intan rest house here yesterday.
Muhyiddin, who is also deputy prime minister, said Mah's candidacy received the blessings of BN chairman Datuk Seri Najib Razak and leaders of other BN component parties.
For now, Mah faces off against DAP adviser Lim Kit Siang's political secretary, Dyana Sofya Mohd Daud, 27, who has been named the party's candidate for the by-election.
The announcement was made before thousands of BN component party leaders, members and supporters as well as Friends of BN.
The Teluk Intan parliamentary seat fell vacant following the death of incumbent Seah Leong Peng, 48, who died of cancer on May 1.
In the last election, Seah defeated Mah and independent candidate Moralingam Kannan by a majority of 7,313 votes.
Asked how BN intended to ensure victory considering the 7,000-majority won by DAP in the 13th General Election, Muhyiddin said BN knew its strengths and weaknesses.
"We know how we fared in each of the 37 voting centres and we have put in place a realistic key performance index (KPI) to allow our election machinery to woo voters there.
"It is achievable and doable to get the votes in. We know the voters' breakdown. We want all votes -- Indian, Chinese, Malays and other races. Our machinery will go down to each house and woo every voter."
On whether there was a wind of change from the Chinese community towards BN, Muhyiddin said there were positive changes, as indicated in the Kajang by-election.
"There is a positive shift to the new MCA leadership, under its president, Datuk Seri Liow Tiong Lai.
"We expect the same thing to happen here. With the right candidate and a highly committed election machinery, there will be an obvious swing in this by-election."
Muhyiddin, however, refrained from commenting on Dyana Sofya's candidacy when asked about her lack of experience, adding that BN had no intention of belittling the opposition candidate.
"Let the voters' judge for themselves. We respect whoever the candidate is," he said.
Muhyiddin also declined to comment on Dyana Sofya's mother being an Ipoh Barat Umno member.
In a speech earlier, Muhyiddin said the by-election would give BN the opportunity to develop Teluk Intan into an important growth area for the state and the country.
He said he was touched by the commitment showed by leaders at all levels, who were united in wanting victory in this by-election.
"We admit that there were problems during the last election. We are mindful that to win, everyone needs to work together; to give and take, to help one another and to be united," he said.
On another matter, Muhyiddin said it would not be surprising if the by-election was used by the opposition as a platform to smear BN.
"We know they will raise issues, such as the economy, rising cost of living, security and GST. However, we have answers for all. Everything will be explained so voters will not be cheated."
He said BN's struggle was to fight for all races.
"We have proven all this while. Recently, we recorded a 6.2 per cent growth in GDP. It is unanticipated. I am saying this as issues of economy draw the people's attention."
Meanwhile, Mah thanked the party leadership, particularly Najib and state BN liaison committee chairman Datuk Seri Dr Zambry Abd Kadir, for consenting to his candidacy.
"If we come together, I have confidence that we will do well. If BN wins this time, it is not that Mah is great, but BN as a whole," he said, adding that he apologised for any shortcomings he may have had previously.

The Election Commission has set nomination tomorrow, with early voting to begin on May 27 and polling day on May 31.





Follow @partigerakan