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No haste, Zahid says on BN-PH seat talks ahead of polls

The Umno president says there is still time before the state elections.

2 minute read
Deputy Prime Minister Ahmad Zahid Hamidi speaks in Kuala Lipis, May 1. Photo: Bernama
Deputy Prime Minister Ahmad Zahid Hamidi speaks in Kuala Lipis, May 1. Photo: Bernama

Barisan Nasional (BN) and Pakatan Harapan (PH) will not be hasty over the distribution of seats for the six upcoming state elections, says Deputy Prime Minister Datuk Ahmad Zahid Hamidi.

He said this approach was also to avoid clashes or problems that might arise if the chosen candidate did not win.

Zahid said the negotiations for seat distribution among parties in the government also involved certain procedures including discussions between BN and PH at the state level before proceeding to the national level to be finalised among the presidents of the relevant parties.

"What we will prioritise is that the seat distribution is done not only with a sense of equality, but also look at the winnability. We feel that it is not only about victory but (also) about voter acceptance and the likeability of a candidate among the voters in the area concerned.

"And we still have quite a long time, maybe until July or early August to officially face the election campaign," he said at a press conference in Kuala Lipis yesterday.

Zahid, who is the BN chairman, was responding to claims that the seat distribution between BN and PH for the state elections in Kedah, Penang, Selangor, Negeri Sembilan, Terengganu and Kelantan was behind that of Perikatan Nasional (PN), which is reportedly 85% to 90% complete.

Asked about the views of certain parties that PN had a chance to make an impact in Selangor and Negeri Sembilan, Zahid who is also Umno president, said his side could not take the assumption lightly.

"Not only in Selangor, but (we cannot take it lightly) in all the states we are going to have the polls in," he said, adding that the results could favour the parties in the government if they coordinated their machinery well and provided accurate information to the voters.

On whether BN would make changes to the list of candidates for the six state elections to ensure their candidates are "likeable", Zahid said he did not rule out the possibility based on the experience at the polls in Melaka and Johor.

"BN put forward new faces (in Melaka and Johor)... in Melaka it was almost 80% and the same for Johor which was more than 70%. It means that we are very committed to rejuvenating Umno, BN and giving the younger generation the opportunity to be in the state leadership through the election," he said.