PUTRAJAYA, May 25 – Datuk Seri Dr Ahmad Zahid Hamidi said Wednesday the Barisan Nasional will go into the Sungai Besar parliamentary by-election in Selangor as the underdog and work hard with wisdom to retain the seat. The Deputy Prime Minister said BN had won the seat through the late Datuk Noriah Kasnon with a slim 399-vote majority.

“In the Sungai Besar by-election, we are more the underdog because of the slim 399-vote majority. Furthermore, the state government is led by an opposition party. We realise that we have to work hard with wisdom to overcome all problems to retain the seat,” he told a press conference after chairing a meeting to coordinate federal government programmes in the constituency.

The meeting was held to ensure that there would be no overlap in the implementation of programmes and activities as Selangor is administered by an opposition party. Also present at the press conference were MCA president Datuk Seri Liow Tiong Lai, Gerakan president Datuk Seri Mah Siew Kiong and Selangor UMNO Liaison Committee chairman and Sungai Besar by-election director Datuk Seri Noh Omar.

The by-election is being held following the death of Noriah in a helicopter crash on May 5 in Sarawak that also took the lives of Kuala Kangsar MP Datuk Wan Mohammad Khair-il Anuar Wan Ahmad and four others. Ahmad Zahid, who is an UMNO vice-president, said he, Noh and the presidents of other BN parties would work out several cost-effective measures that would yield a better outcome.

“BN had shortlisted seven potential candidates, and that the party would field a winnable and likeable candidate. We will have a discussion on the candidate with Selangor and Sungai Besar BN leaders before making a decision. Everybody is hoping a lady will be chosen as the candidate. However, we have other considerations. A winnable and likeable candidate is our top priority,” he said.

“Meanwhile, the Chinese community in Sungai Besar wanted a stable and strong government. They are feeling good about our government’s policies because our government is responsive to their requests. The Chinese know that they need to be in the government, not all the time with the opposition. They want to have a say in the government and we hope they can give strength to the MCA to play a role in the government in helping them to voice out their grievances,” Liow said. Up to 33 per cent of the 42,655 voters in Sungai Besar are Chinese.

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