: Six victories in by-elections, including the latest for the Chini state seat last night has proven that Barisan Nasional (BN) is still relevant and accepted by the people.
Barisan Nasional chairman Datuk Seri Dr Ahmad Zahid Hamidi said this put paid to all the talk that the BN symbol was no longer accepted by the public.
"I am convinced that these six by-elections (after the 14th General Election) clearly provides evidence that BN is not only still relevant but also has a bright future if the component parties and friends in UMNO and Muafakat Nasional give their support to ensure success in the next general election.
"In addition, we are now part of Perikatan Nasional. This combination will also contribute to success (victory) and voters in Chini want continuity of BN services," he told reporters after the official announcement of the results of the Chini by-election at the National Youth Skills Training Institute (IKBN) in Pekan near here last night.
Prior to this, BN had won the parliamentary seats in Cameron Highlands. Tanjung Piai, and Kimanis seats as well as the state seats in Semenyih and Rantau.
Meanwhile, Pekan Member of Parliament Datuk Seri Najib Razak who is also Pekan UMNO division head said although faced with two Independent candidates, the Muafakat Nasional was not complacent in tackling the competition.
"This victory shows that BN and Muafakat Nasional has such strong support that the two Independent candidates lost their deposits. I consider this as a victory for the voters in Chini as they want a people's representative who can serve them and continue the development in this area as well as ensure a better future," he said.
The Chini state seat by-election saw BN candidate Mohd Sharim Md Zain, 41, winning with a majority of 12,650 after gaining 13,872 votes. The challengers, Independent candidates Tengku Datuk Zainul Hisham Tengku Hussin, 64, obtained 1,222 votes while Mohd Shukri Mohd Ramli, 49, only received 137 votes, causing both to lose their deposit.
Pahang Menteri Besar Datuk Seri Wan Rosdy Wan Ismail described the 'young candidate' strategy which fielded Mohd Sharim resulted in a major victory for BN.
He said besides being a young candidate, Mohd Sharim was known to many of the Chini residents as he was active in various youth associations and often assisted the previous state assemblyman, the late Abu Bakar Harun.
"We definitely want to feature young candidates to take over the party struggle. In addition he was just the right candidate as 55 per cent of the constituents are young voters, aged between 21 and 39," he said.
Wan Rosdy said good cooperation within the BN machinery along with backing from PAS based on the spirit of cooperation under Muafakat Nasional and also Parti Pribumi Bersatu Malaysia (Bersatu) under the Perikatan Nasional banner proved to be the main contributing factor towards Mohd Sharim's victory.
PAS' support, meanwhile, was evident when Pekan deputy head Mohd Fadhil Noor Abdul Karim, who was defeated by Abu Bakar in GE14, became Mohd Sharim's seconder on nomination day on June 20.
Mohd Fadhil Noor said it was the PAS leadership decision to support the BN candidate through cooperation under the Muafakat Nasional agreement.
"We have given our commitment to support the BN candidate and this is the outcome," he said when met after the BN victory at Dewan Selasih Paloh Hinai near here last night.
The Chini state seat by-election was held following the death of Abu Bakar, 60, at Kuala Lumpur Hospital due to a heart attack on May 7. Abu Bakar was Chini state assemblyman since the 11th general election in 2004.