Bersatu president Muhyiddin Yassin today announced that the party will not contest in the Sarawak state election next month.
Muhyiddin, who is also Perikatan Nasional (PN) chairman, said Bersatu decided on this following a recent meeting with Gabungan Parti Sarawak (GPS) chairman Abang Johari Openg.
“Although we believe we can win in certain areas, Bersatu will not contest in Sarawak out of respect for the wishes of the GPS leadership. This move is to ensure that the party that is already in Sarawak can score an excellent win,” he said at a press conference after opening the third delegates meeting of the Pagoh Bersatu division in Muar today.
Muhyiddin also said Bersatu had chosen to stay out of the contest because it believed GPS had the ability to win and that GPS had supported the PN-led federal government when he was the prime minister.
However, he said Abang Johari had indicated that he might consider having friendly parties like PN fight alongside GPS in the 15th general election (GE15).
“The most important thing to emerge from the meeting (with Abang Johari) is GPS’ view on the need to retain existing seats,” he said.
The Election Commission has set Dec 6 for nomination, Dec 14 for early voting and Dec 18 for polling in the 12th Sarawak state election, which will see 82 seats up for grabs.
On the resignation of Bersatu vice-president Mohd Rafiq Naizamohideen as Melaka PN chairman and Melaka Bersatu chief, Muhyiddin said his successor would be named soon.
Muhyiddin, the MP for Pagoh, said it was honourable of Rafiq to step down and allow the state party leadership to be reshuffled after the Melaka state election.
“It is clear he is giving way to a new leadership and this is an honourable move. I will decide on his replacement or any other changes in a few days’ time,” he said.
Yesterday, Rafiq announced that he was relinquishing his state posts with immediate effect to make way for a new leadership so that they would have enough time to prepare for GE15.
Asked on Umno’s proposal for GE15 to be expedited, Muhyiddin said he had asked Prime Minister Ismail Sabri Yaakob to hold discussions to determine a suitable time to hold the election.
“I have informed the prime minister to hold discussions to determine a suitable time. Maybe at the prime minister’s level, in accordance with the constitution, it will be raised with Yang di-Pertuan Agong Sultan Abdullah Sultan Ahmad Shah.
“But I am sure considerations will be given to the situation and the cooperation forged among political parties under the memorandum of understanding (MoU) to stabilise the political situation,” said Muhyiddin.
On Nov 21, Umno deptuty president Mohamad Hasan, who is Rantau state assemblyman in Negeri Sembilan, said that it would be appropriate for GE15 to be held soon.