KUALA LUMPUR: Seats previously contested by former Barisan Nasional (BN) component parties belong to the coalition and not just any single party within the pact, its chairman Datuk Seri Dr Ahmad Zahid Hamidi said.
Despite not mentioning any names, Zahid is believed to have been referring to a statement by MCA yesterday, where the latter had expressed hope of contesting in all seats previously held by Gerakan in Penang.
Zahid said this in response to a comment by Makkal Sakti president Datuk Seri R S Thanenthiran, who had earlier in his speech expressed his unhappiness with MCA’s statement.
Thanenthiran questioned MCA’s move, saying that other parties friendly to BN would never get a chance to contest in a general election if MCA monopolises all of Gerakan’s old seats.
Zahid said not one single component party in BN can claim that they have a right to contest in any seat since the decision lies with the BN leadership.
“In GE15, all seats that belonged to our former friends don’t belong to any party that wishes to stake a claim on them. It is BN’s prerogative to decide.
“In this situation, friendship is important. I want to maintain our friendship while at the same time, create a new positive spirit within BN.
“I respect Makkal Sakti and other Friends of BN (FOBN). My aim was to get FOBN to contest in the Johor state election, including Makkal Sakti, but you know what happened and I don’t want to embarrass anyone,” he said, without giving any further explanation.
Zahid was speaking at Makkal Sakti’s 14th annual general assembly at the World Trade Centre Kuala Lumpur (WTCKL) here today.
At the same time, Zahid reiterated his promise that all political parties under the FOBN banner would get a chance to contest in GE15.
He said although they were not officially component parties of BN, the pact would take advantage of their strengths so that it could retake the federal government after losing it in 2018.
Earlier, Thanenthiran said Makkal Sakti’s membership has grown over the years and it would be a mistake for BN to not take capitalise on the party’s growth.
“Makkal Sakti must be given a chance to contest in GE15. We have been loyal and devoted. We won’t make any threats or jump ship,” he said.
“Our membership has grown substantially. Don’t take us for granted. We have pride and dignity. We won’t allow anyone to belittle us.
“We have many young members. They are all professionals. There are many lawyers, accountants and architects here. These are all winnable, acceptable and likeable candidates.”
Zahid has pledged to channel RM500 million to the Indian community by introducing the Malaysian Indian Blueprint 2.0 if BN wins in GE15.
“Actually, even RM500 million is not enough to assist the Indian community. It should be RM1 billion,” he said.