PUTRAJAYA, Oct 7 -- Pakatan Harapan (PH) hopes that the opposition will let Umno contest the Tanjung Piai parliamentary by-election in Johor because PH will have a better chance of winning against an Umno candidate, said PH chairman Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad.
"There are many problems there. We are of the opinion that we have to depend on the opposing party to win, that is we ask them to field a candidate from Umno. Please, so that we can win,” he said cynically at a press conference after chairing the PH presidential council meeting here today.
Dr Mahathir said PH had not decided on its candidate yet but the seat would definitely be contested by Parti Pribumi Bersatu Malaysia (Bersatu).
The Tanjung Piai seat fell vacant following the death of its incumbent Datuk Dr Md Farid Md Rafik, 42, who was Deputy Minister in the Prime Minister’s Department, on Sept 21 due to heart complications. Nomination for the by-election is on Nov 2 and polling, on Nov 16.
In the 14th general election, Dr Md Farid, the Tanjung Piai Bersatu deputy chief, won the seat by a 524-vote majority in a three-cornered fight against Datuk Seri Wee Jeck Seng (BN-MCA) and Nordin Othman (PAS).
Asked why PH preferred facing Umno in the by-election, Dr Mahathir said: "There are certain facts which we are not in a position to explain now."
The prime minister said today’s meeting also had a long discussion on Budget 2020, which will be tabled by Finance Minister Lim Guan Eng on Friday.
He said there were differences of opinion among PH leaders and slight amendments were proposed to the budget.
"And it is hoped that the finance minister will consider these views and make the announcement in his (budget) speech," he said.
Asked on the changes sought, Dr Mahathir said: "I won't tell you; it’s embargoed until Friday."
Meanwhile, Dr Mahathir, when asked on the appointment of Amanah Ikhtiar Malaysia (AIM) Board chairman Datuk Junaidah Kiting, who is the wife of the prime minister’s political secretary, said PH would make political appointments to certain posts if the individuals concerned were qualified and could do the job.
"This is the problem that we face. We are not supposed to give any position to people who worked hard for our party’s success. Instead, those who got the high posts were people who had never helped our party.
"So sometimes we appoint people who have some connection with our party because they have the qualifications, and we will continue to do the same thing if we find there are people connected to the party, work hard with the party, but have the ability to perform the duty successfully,” he said.