M’sia Slim state by-election: Barisan Nasional’s Mohd Zaidi Aziz to face off former Prime Minister Dr Mahathir’s Pejuang party candidate Amir Khusyairi Mohd Tanusi

K Shanmugam and Tan Chuan-Jin also take issue with Dr Mahathir’s poem for the vision of his political party

MALAYSIA – Barisan Nasional’s (BN) Mohd Zaidi Aziz will stand for the by-election in the Slim state against Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad’s political party candidate Amir Khusyairi Mohd Tanusi. 

Mohd Zaidi, who is acting Tanjung Malim United Malays National Organisation (UMNO) deputy chief, announced his candidature for the Slim state by-election, located in the state of Perak, on Wednesday (12 Aug) at a press conference. 

The Election Commission has set the by-election on 29 August, while nominations will be made on Saturday 15 August. 

The by-election was called after the death of incumbent Datuk Mohd Khusairi Abdul Talib on 15 July. 

In the 14th General Election, Mohd Khusairi defended the state seat with a majority of 2,183 votes by defeating Mohd Amran Ibrahim from Parti Pribumi Bersatu Malaysia (Bersatu), who contested under the PKR ticket, and Muhammad Zulfadli Zainal of PAS.

In Mohd Zaidi’s address, he vowed to fight for the interest of the people and solve their problems to the best of his ability. 

“Therefore, I urge everyone to work together to ensure BN victory in the by-election,” he declared. 

Mohd Zaidi holds a Bachelor of Islamic Revealed Knowledge & Human Sciences from the International Islamic University Malaysia.

The father of four children, aged between five and 16, is also active in outdoor and voluntary activities including being the deputy president of the Malaysian Youth Council for the 2014 to 2018 term.

He will be contesting against lawyer Amir Khusyairi Mohd Tanusi from Dr Mahathir’s newly-formed Malay-based political party called “Parti Pejuang Tanahair”, which loosely means “nation’s fighter” or “patriot”.  

Dr Mahathir was the Prime Minister of Malaysia from 1981 to 2003 and then again from 2018 to  February 2020, where he resigned after a tumultuous series of events.

Amir’s candidacy was announced on Wednesday as well during an event at Taman Slim Permata in Slim River, Perak. 

The 38-year-old was once a candidate for the Teluk Intan Parti Pribumi Bersatu Malaysia division chairman’s post.

Earlier that day, Dr Mahathir revealed his new political party in his blog “Chedet” via a poem which claimed that Bersatu had been “hijacked” to save kleptocrats.

“Corruption destroys our race and corruption destroys the Malays. If you want positions and money, choose another party.

“If you want to redeem your dignity and defend our rights, choose our party, choose Pejuang, ” he said.

Pejuang will include former Bersatu Members of Parliament (MP) such as Datuk Seri Mukhriz Mahathir, Dr Maszlee Malik, Datuk Marzuki Yahya, Datuk Dr Shahruddin Md Salleh, Datuk Amiruddin Hamzah and Syed Saddiq Syed Abdul Rahman.

Dr Mathatir’s declaration to “fight” for Malays in Malaysia

Referencing the poem, Dr Mahathir criticised Bersatu, the party he co-founded and was recently ousted from.

Bersatu was formerly a part of the Pakatan Harapan coalition, which currently comprises the Democratic Action Party, People’s Justice Party, and National Trust Party.

Pakatan Harapan’s governance unexpectedly crumbled when events following the “Sheraton Move” earlier this year saw Dr Mahathir’s then-right-hand man Muhyiddin Yassin taking the mantle of Prime Minister, following a power vacuum left by the former’s resignation from the post.

Bersatu is currently led by Muhyiddin. The party is now part of the Malay-centric Perikatan Nasional alliance with Umno and Parti Islam SeMalaysia.

But two lines in the poem seemed to take a stab at an unidentified neighbouring country, asking if the Malays in that country still have a ‘Malay state’.

“Selling (our) land is the same as selling (our) rights. Sooner or later, the country will also be sold. No more rights left. Malays will then perish. Whose fault will it be? Others? Choose,” he wrote.

He affirmed that Pejuang was borne out of “awareness” of the destructive effects of corruption on Malays.

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