By LESTER KONG and ZULKIFLI ABD RAHMAN
PORT DICKSON: Former Negri Sembilan mentri besar Tan Sri Isa Samad is the Barisan Nasional candidate for the Bagan Pinang by-election on Oct 11.
Deputy Umno president Tan Sri Muhyiddin Yassin, before making the announcement, teased the thousands of Barisan supporters and local Bagan Pinang folk by asking who they wanted as the by-election candidate.
The crowd shouted out Isa’s name and Muhyiddin said: “Yes, it will be Isa.”
The moment Isa’s name was announced at a Hari Raya do in Batu 6, Teluk Kemang here, the crowd cheered and roared in approval.
Muhyiddin, the Barisan election director, said the decision was made based on a detailed study on the wishes of the local Bagan Pinang community.
“We are confident that with his qualifications and support from the local community, Isa will do well for Barisan,” he said.
Muhyiddin added that Isa had contributed greatly to the local community and never stopped his services despite challenges that he faced over the years.
He later told reporters that Isa, like himself, had also encountered political problems in the past.
“Voters know Isa’s aspirations and we must acknowledge the wishes of the constituents here who want Isa to be their elected representative.
“We want to continue providing development in Bagan Pinang and Isa can help because he has been here for a long time,” he added.
Isa, in an immediate response, said with the support of the Barisan leadership, he would defend the seat and win it with a bigger majority.
Isa added that he expected the Opposition to “invent” issues in thei r attempt to wrest the seat from Barisan.
This will be the first time Isa is contesting in his own backyard although he has been the Teluk Kemang Umno division chief for 30 years.
“Throughout my political career, I had always contested in Linggi,” he said. Linggi is a neighbouring state seat under the same PKR-controlled Teluk Kemang parliamentary constituency.
Isa advised those working for the Barisan by-election machinery not to be complacent and over-confident.
Umno information chief Datuk Ahmad Maslan said it was unfair to criticise Isa’s nomination because of his party disciplinary problems.
“He is like a stained shirt that had been cleaned. He has already been punished in the political sense and we should move forward,” he added.
The state seat became vacant after Barisan’s Azman Mohammad Noor died on Sept 4.
Isa was the Negri Sembilan mentri besar for 22 years.
With Isa’s candidacy for the by-election, most political commentators said Barisan was widely expected to win the seat. - The Star