Tussle among BN candidates in Hulu Selangor
By Adib Zalkapli
HULU SELANGOR, April 3 — MIC’s choice for the April 25 Hulu Selangor by-election is now complicated with the Umno division there openly campaigning for veteran party leader Tan Sri Muhammad Muhd Taib to represent the Barisan Nasional.
A banner (picture) supporting Muhammad as the BN choice for the Hulu Selangor by-election has been put up in Batang Kali town here to coincide with Tan Sri Muhyiddin Yassin’s first campaign stop in the parliamentary constituency.
“For the sake of unity we want Tan Sri Dato’ Hj Muhammad Bin Hj Muhd Taib as a candidate for Hulu Selangor,” reads the message on the banner.
Local Umno leaders have been demanding that a candidate from the Malay party is fielded despite insistence by the MIC to maintain the status quo in Hulu Selangor.
“His name is very popular here. Hulu Selangor used to be a sleepy hollow, but not anymore when Tan Sri Mat Taib served as mentri besar,” said Umno division vice-chief Datuk Adnan Buyong, but was quick to add that he had nothing to do with the banner.
Muhammad was the Selangor mentri besar from 1986 to 1997.
Muhammad had also served as the representative of Batang Kali — one of the state seats in Hulu Selangor parliamentary constituency — from 1982 to 1995.
He left mainstream politics a year ago, after losing his bid for the Umno deputy presidency to Muhyiddin.
“If he makes a comeback we will see another wave of development in Hulu Selangor,” Adnan told The Malaysian Insider.
Adnan, who also co-ordinates the constituency’s village security and development committees, said he had sent a memorandum to Prime Minister Datuk Seri Najib Razak early this week, asking the BN chairman to back an Umno candidate.
“We are serious that was why we sent the memorandum,” said Adnan when met at a campaign stop in Kampung Sentosa, Batang Kali.
The memorandum was also signed by more than 50 village heads in Hulu Selangor, some of them are also Umno branch chiefs.
“That was not my request alone, it was from the grassroots, you can ask around and find out,” said Adnan.
Hulu Selangor Umno deputy chief Mohd Isa Abu Kassim described the demand for Muhammad to be fielded as not unusual.
“There is nothing wrong with it, we have 64,000 voters with different expectations, most importantly they are with us, they are still BN supporters,” said Mohd Isa.
BN is expected to field MIC deputy president Datuk G. Palanivel who lost the seat in Election 2008 to PKR’s Datuk Dr Zainal Abidin Ahmad.
Zainal Abidin, who was formerly a Selangor deputy mentri besar, died last week of a brain tumour.
Nomination is set for April 17 while polling will be held on April 25. It is understood that Palanivel is the only MIC candidate named for the seat while some 10 have been shortlisted by PKR which needs to retain the seat after a spate of resignations and a case of expulsion.
There are 64,500 voters in Hulu Selangor, with the Malays making up 52.7 per cent of the total while the Chinese constitute 26.3 per cent, Indians approximately 19 per cent and other races at 1.7 per cent.