The Tanjung Piai by-election was called for after the death of its incumbent Datuk Dr Mohamed Farid Md Rafik.
During GE-14, the parliamentary seat witnessed a three-way battle between candidates from Bersatu, MCA and PAS.
For the general elections prior to GE-14, the battle for the seat was always between the DAP and MCA candidates.
For the upcoming by-election, there seems to be an internal problem in Barisan Nasional in electing a candidate for the upcoming by-election.
In early October, UMNO party president Datuk Seri Ahmad Zahid Hamidi announced that the BN candidate for the by-election might be from his party instead of MCA.
Former Johor Menteri Besar Datuk Seri Mohamed Khaled Nordin was speculated to be appointed as BN’s candidate.
He did not deny the speculation, but he personally opined that the contestant should be a Tanjung Piai local. This means the possibility of him being fielded as BN’s candidate is not out of the question.
Khaled was born in Muar, but he contested in Johor Bahru and Pasir Gudang throughout his political career.
In 2013, he contested for a state seat instead of a parliamentary seat. Subsequently, he won the Permas state seat and was eventually sworn in as Johor Menteri Besar.
In GE-14, he contested for the Pasir Gudang parliamentary seat and Permas state seat but lost both. Khaled was defeated by almost 25,000 votes and 9,000 votes respectively.
Despite that, he remains active in the media, particularly in March and April due to the Pasir Gudang toxic pollution crisis. Besides, he was one of the three vice-presidents of UMNO.
As a response to UMNO showing interest in the by-election, MCA hopes that BN will honour its collaborative efforts of over 60 years by appointing an MCA candidate.
With the formalisation of Penyatuan Ummah, PAS president Datuk Seri Abdul Hadi Awang said his party will support any candidate from BN, even from MCA. Ultimately, he leaves the decision of the candidate’s appointment to UMNO.
On the other hand, a former component party of BN, Gerakan, announced that it would contest for the Tanjung Piai seat.
The by-election is set to commence on November 16, with its nomination day set on November 2.