PUTRAJAYA: Barisan Nasional (BN) is considering fielding a candidate in Nenggiri if a by-election is held following the declaration of a casual vacancy in the state seat in Kelantan, said BN chairman Datuk Seri Dr Ahmad Zahid Hamidi.

The Deputy Prime Minister said although BN considers itself an underdog in the constituency, it is still prepared to contest if a by-election is called.

He noted that in the state election in August last year, BN’s Ab Aziz Yusoff lost to Bersatu’s Mohd Azizi Abu Naim, who contested under the PAS ticket, by a majority of 810 votes in a straight fight.

However, Ahmad Zahid said the issue of the Nenggiri seat being declared vacant might be challenged in court and everyone should respect the court’s decision.

Ahmad Zahid, who is also UMNO president, told reporters this after holding a special meeting with participants and organisers of the Mid Season Cup MLBB 2024 - Moonton Games Malaysia here today.

Asked if BN is willing to field Mohd Azizi as its candidate as he now supports the Unity Government, Ahmad Zahid said this matter can be discussed.

On June 19, Kelantan State Assembly Speaker Datuk Mohd Amar Nik Abdullah declared the Nenggiri seat vacant after receiving a written notice according to clause (3) of Article 31A of the Kelantan State Constitution on June 13.

Mohd Amar said that on June 12, Bersatu had also informed him that the party had revoked the membership Mohd Azizi, resulting in a casual vacancy for the seat.

It was reported today that Mohd Azizi had appointed a lawyer to challenge the Kelantan Speaker’s decision and that the case will be filed in the Kota Bharu High Court this Sunday.

The Election Commission is scheduled to meet on June 28 to discuss the holding of the Nenggiri by-election.

Asked about the Sungai Bakap by-election on July 6, Ahmad Zahid expressed confidence that the more than 5,000 UMNO members in the constituency will support the Pakatan Harapan (PH) candidate.

“There are eight polling district centres (PDM) in the constituency, and UMNO has 5,105 members. So the focus is on UMNO voters while we try to attract other Malay voters.

“However, other component parties in BN such as MCA, MIC, and Friends of BN have also mobilised to reach out to voters of various races in Sungai Bakap. We will do our best to get votes for the Unity Government candidate,“ he said.

It has been decided that PH’s Dr Joohari Ariffin will be the Unity Government’s candidate for the Sungai Bakap by-election.