Amidst the upcoming Simpang Jeram and Pulai by-elections, Deputy Prime Minister Datuk Seri Dr Ahmad Zahid Hamidi emphasizes the significance of securing victory to preserve Johor’s status as a steadfast bastion for the current administration. Urging support for Amanah’s candidate, Nazri Abdul Rahman, from the PH-BN coalition, Zahid warns against PAS’s encroachment in the state. He emphasizes that only a united effort by the Bakri and Simpang Jeram communities can thwart PAS’s intentions. Zahid also underscores Nazri’s role in repelling this potential “flood” and upholding Johor’s unity. The by-elections follow the passing of Minister Datuk Seri Salahuddin Ayub, leaving a three-way contest among PH, PN, and Independent candidates.
As part of the PH-BN coalition, Amanah’s candidate, Nazri Abdul Rahman, requires the support of the electorate to prevent PAS from establishing a foothold in Johor. With the state now under BN’s leadership, Ahmad Zahid emphasized, “We must not allow PAS to turn the Simpang Jeram state constituency into a secondary site akin to Maharani.” Zahid called upon the residents of Bakri and Simpang Jeram to recognize the hidden motives of the Islamic party and collaboratively strategize against its tactics, noting that PAS often resorts to deceptive strategies that require a united front for counteraction.
Addressing a gathering of the BN Simpang Jeram machinery, the event saw the presence of Menteri Besar Datuk Onn Hafiz Ghazi, Johor Umno liaison committee chairman Datuk Seri Mohamed Khaled Nordin, and Nazri himself.
Furthermore, Ahmad Zahid, who also holds the position of Umno president, urged Nazri to leverage his expertise as a former Muar Municipal Council engineer to combat the looming PAS influence. Comparing this challenge to battling floods, Zahid called upon Nazri to fortify Johor’s position as a symbol of unity within the nation.
Reflecting on past alliances, Ahmad Zahid recalled the history of Umno’s collaboration with PAS through Muafakat Nasional and highlighted PAS’s tendency to betray its partners. He lamented the lessons learned from extending kindness to those who do not reciprocate, underscoring the complexities of political alliances.
The by-elections, prompted by the demise of the incumbent Domestic Trade and Cost of Living Minister Datuk Seri Salahuddin Ayub on July 23, have set the stage for a three-way contest involving PH, PN, and Independent candidates. The results will determine the trajectory of Johor’s political landscape, with parties vying for supremacy and influence in the state.