PUTRAJAYA: The Barisan Nasional (BN) must retain the Kuala Besut state seat at all cost to avoid a hung state assembly in Terengganu which could lead to political instability, said Umno information chief Datuk Ahmad Maslan.
He said besides stamping Umno's authority, the victory would also help maintain political stability in the state.
"Imagine if PAS were to even the score at 16-16 by wresting the seat from BN which is unprecedented in the history of the country.
"So, losing Kuala Besut is not an option to BN," he told reporters after presenting excellent service awards at the Accountant-General Department here, today.
The Kuala Besut state seat fell vacant after its assemblyman, Dr A Rahman Mokhtar died of lung cancer at the Sultanah Nur Zahirah Hospital in Kuala Terengganu yesterday.
With his death, the state BN hangs precariously to power with 16 seats against Pakatan Rakyat's 15 (PAS 14 while PKR one).
Ahmad, who is also deputy finance minister, said as the impending by-election would likely be fiercely fought between the BN and PAS, the BN would beef up its election machinery.
"I heard several names of PAS stalwarts being bandied about to stand in Kuala Besut. So this by-election is expected to be very different, very intense and volatile," he said.
Kuala Besut voters should back the BN to enable it to continue its development agenda and maintain stability in the state, he said, adding that Second Education Minister and Besut Umno Division head Datuk Seri Idris Jusoh's influence in the constituency would be an advantage to the BN.
Two-term assemblyman A. Rahman, 55, of the BN retained the seat after beating Napisah Ismail of PAS with a 2,434-vote majority in the 13th general election on May 5.