Deputy Prime Minister Ahmad Zahid Hamidi said it was neither the trend nor policy of Barisan Nasional to allow the wife of any BN elected representative who died in office to replace their husband as the candidate in a by-election.
“We did our studies and the findings indicated that the wife who has been proposed to replace the late husband enjoys very strong support on the ground.
“Thus, it is not necessary that the wife should replace the husband. We based our choice on support from the ground and the chances of winning,” he said.
He told the media this after joining state BN leaders in sending BN candidate for the Tanjong Datu by-election Jamilah Anu to the nomination centre at Lundu District Office hall here.
Joining him were Sarawak Chief Minister Abang Johari Tun Openg and Sabah Chief Minister Musa Aman and other federal and state cabinet members.
“In the case of Jamilah, we also did the studies and came up with the same finding. This also happened in two other earlier by-elections. The decision to nominate her was made by both state and federal BN leaders,” he said.
Zahid agreed with a reporter’s suggestion that it was one way to increase the number of women representatives at state and national level.
Meanwhile, he expressed confidence that Jamilah, 61, would deliver the seat to the BN.
“She can continue the excellent legacy of her husband the late Chief Minister Tan Sri Adenan Satem. We are confident too that the voters will continue to support the BN and the new state leadership under Abang Johari.
“Our candidate Jamilah will get the full support of the voters despite her being challenged by two others,” he said.
He said the BN would fulfill all promises made by the late Adenan and all development projects planned would be implemented.
Zahid said the BN machinery under Abang Johari and Wan Junaidi Tuanku Jaafar as director of operation would work hard to ensure Jamilah’s victory: “Sabah BN’s machinery under Musa will help as well.”
Jamilah is being challenged by Rapelson Richard Hamit from PBDS Baru and Johnny Aput from STAR.
The Election Commission has fixed Feb 12 for early voting and Feb 18 as polling day. –Bernama