Umno and MCA are still jostling over the Wangsa Maju seat, both claiming they have the right candidate.
PETALING JAYA: Barisan Nasional is in a quandary as to who to select for the Wangsa Maju parliamentary seat. Both MCA and Umno insist that they should be fielding the candidate.
MCA’s Yew Teong Look is seeking to regain the seat for BN after he was defeated by PKR-turned-independent Wee Choo Keong with a marginal 150 votes in 2008.
However, standing in his way is Wangsa Maju BN chairman Mohd Shafei Abdullah from Umno, who claims the majority Malay electorate in the area are in favour of a Malay candidate.
Wangsa Maju is a major township made up of 65,078 voters, of which 53% of them are Malays, 38% Chinese and 9% Indian.
In 2008 general election, Wee won the seat under PKR ticket, garnering 19,637 votes. He pulled out from PKR to become a BN-friendly MP in 2010.
Umno’s Kamal Salih and Zulhasnan Rafique had successfully won it for BN in 1995 and in 1999 respectively, whereas MCA only managed to defend the seat for one term between 2004 and 2008.
The other factor in Umno’s favour is that Shafei has close ties with Prime Minister Najib Tun Razak as he is the political secretary to the finance minister, who is also Najib.
Local Umno division secretary Rosli Zainan said it was 80% sure that Shafei would be fielded as the BN candidate.
“The general election is only a few weeks away. Najib shouldn’t be making any drastic changes. Shafei has been the Wangsa Maju BN chairman since 2009,” he said, adding that many local folks had lost faith in Yew.
He said he was told that Najib would seek an audience with the Yang di-Pertuan Agong on Wednesday, and dissolve Parliament on Friday.
However, Yew said he stood a better chance of regaining the seat from the opposition.
“We are confident that if we are given a chance to contest, we can win it. But on the Umno side, I have no comment,” he said.
Yew also said a survey also shows that the party will fare well especially among the Chinese voters.
Though both Yew and Shafei have pledged to abide by Najib’s decision on the candidate, it remains to be seen if the divided BN machinery would be able to join force within a short span of time to face a strong opposition challenge.
While it is not certain if Wee would be defending the seat as an independent, PKR has identified former Gerakan man Dr Tan Kee Kwong as its candidate for the seat.