Wednesday, 17 April 2013

Mohd Shariff faces axe from party if he contests as independent, says Umno

NIBONG TEBAL, April 17 – Former Tasek Gelugor MP Datuk Seri Mohd Shariff Omar will be expelled from Barisan Nasional (BN) component party Umno if he stands for elections as an independent on May 5, said Penang Umno chief Datuk Zainal Abidin Osman today. “Any Umno member or leader who stands as an independent or chooses to support Pakatan Rakyat (PR) in the upcoming polls, will be expelled from the party,” he told a press conference today. Responding to Mohd Shariff’s statement last night that he will contest as an independent candidate for the Tasek Gelugor parliamentary seat, Zainal said Mohd Shariff should be guiding the chosen candidates and helping them to win the campaign instead of doing this. “He should be giving them the chance to contest as before this, they were the ones who had helped him to campaign and win the seat previously,” he said of Mohd Shariff. The Umno veteran had openly criticised BN for choosing candidates that the “people do not want” when announcing his plans to contest for the seat. He had said all four seats in Tasek Gelugor, one parliament and three state seats, will be lost since BN did not pick the “right”candidates to contest in Election 2013. Yesterday, Penang BN announced its candidate line-up in which 33 our of 53 candidates were new faces. Former Permatang Berangan state assemblyman Shabudin Yahaya has been picked to defend Tasek Gelugor after Tan Sri Nor Mohamed Yakcop decided not to defend his seat. Mohd Shariff, who is also the former Agriculture and Agro-based Industries deputy minister, has been wanting to re-contest in that seat and was displeased that he was not picked this time around. He had held the Tasek Gelugor seat for two terms between 1999 and 2008 before he gave way to Nor Mohamed Yakcop to contest for the seat in 2008. Zainal said Mohd Shariff should be sharing his experience and giving guidance to the candidates instead of criticising the party for its choice of candidates. “He has held so many positions in Umno for over 20 years so it is time that he give way to the young and to show his loyalty to the party by helping the party win this elections,” he said. Zainal also urged other disappointed members, who had wanted to be candidates, not to contest as independents or under any of the PR component parties’ ticket. The Penang BN deputy chief said they should all consider the party’s interest instead of thinking of their own interests. “They should be helping the BN machinery to ensure that the chosen candidates win in the upcoming polls,” he said. He reiterated that the list is finalised by the Prime Minister and BN chairman Datuk Seri Najib Razak and believed that those chosen are the best to serve the people. However, Zainal said the party leaders will be meeting with the disgruntled members soon to listen to their grouses, talk to them and advice them to continue serving BN.

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