KUALA LUMPUR, July 20 — Former minister Datuk Raja Nong Chik Raja Zainal Abidin has cautioned Umno that he would launch an independent challenge for the Lembah Pantai seat if his party were to field an outsider here for the general election.
According to Utusan Malaysia, the Umno leader said that while he was in favour of giving younger candidates a chance to compete, it was crucial that they were from the constituencies they were aiming to represent, in order for them to relate better to the local issues.
The former federal territories minister said it was important to let younger candidates contest in elections in order for them to progress up the party’s ranks.
“If you ask me to come down to give my support on the ground, I have no problem with that. But if an outsider is selected, I will contest at the upcoming general election.
“I am willing to contest as an independent if Umno fields an outsider. There are many young candidates, it is not a problem for me to support them, it is up to the party’s top leadership, but it is imperative the candidate has to be a local of Lembah Pantai,” he was quoted saying in the report.
Raja Nong Chik is from the local Umno division but has never won the Lembah Pantai seat.
He ran here in the 2013 and 2018 elections but was beaten both times, first by PKR’s Nurul Izzah Anwar and again by the current MP, Fahmi Fadzil.
For the 15th general election, Raja Nong Chik suggested Finance Minister Datuk Seri Tengku Zafrul Abdul Aziz as a possible candidate.
“Tengku Zafrul has a chance to win if he represents Umno and Barisan Nasional (BN). He is even from Lembah Pantai, his parents have lived in Bangsar and he also grew up there.
“But if he wants to compete, contest as a candidate under BN and not Perikatan Nasional,” he said in the report.
He was referring to rumours of Tengku Zafrul, a former corporate banker turned minister, possibly being fielded in the Lembah Pantai seat.
Tengku Zafrul is an independent senator and not currently a member of any party. He has also stated that he did not wish to contest in the election.
Raja Nong Chik went on to say that Umno would only be able to win in Lembah Pantai if it could maintain its cooperation with PAS under their Muafakat Nasional (MN) charter.
“With MN, the chances of winning are better. PAS also has strong (election) machinery in Lembah Pantai. But if we were to support PN, there are its risks; Umno has to decide the direction of the party.
“If PAS supports Umno, the chances are better. If not, the chances are slim,” he added.
A general election is not due until 2023 but Prime Minister Tan Sri Muhyiddin Yassin has pledged to call for one as soon as the Covid-19 pandemic is overcome.
Muhyiddin’s PN came to power unelected last year following the collapse of the Pakatan Harapan administration.