By Shazwan Mustafa Kamal
KUALA LUMPUR, June 30 — PAS’s Salahuddin Ayub has confirmed he will not defend his Kubang Kerian parliamentary seat in the next general election, focussing instead on winning federal and state seats in Johor.
The Johor-born PAS vice-president told The Malaysian Insider the Pakatan Rakyat (PR) leadership has agreed that the “time had come” for him to make a move to his home state, after holding his Kelantan federal seat for nearly two terms.
Salahuddin said conditions within the Umno bastion were now “favourable” to PR, and that there has been considerable increase of support in the state, especially among the Chinese community.
“It is timely for me to go on to Johor to contest there; the situation there right now is very encouraging for Pakatan Rakyat.
“For sure I will contest a state seat, but this time I will contest both a state and parliamentary seat,” Salahuddin told The Malaysian Insider.
Speculation has been rife that the popular PAS vice-president would contest a Johor seat, as state grassroots leaders have been vying for him to become the next Johor mentri besar should PR wrest the state from BN in GE13.
But Salahuddin today denied having any plans to become the next state MB, saying it was a non-issue.
“I do not think so. There are so many factors in me going back to Johor, but this is not one of those. I have to be practical,” said the former PAS Youth chief.
Salahuddin’s entry into the Johor battle will likely boost PR’s chances of winning more seats in the state. PR only won six out of the 56 state seats it contest in Election 2008.
The DAP currently controls four state seats while PAS holds two.
“PR will need to win more parliamentary seats especially if we want to gain a better footing in Johor. It will not be easy, but it is not impossible,” Salahuddin stressed.
Salahuddin’s decision today comes after another popular PAS lawmaker, Datuk Seri Nizar Jamaluddin, announced that he, too, will not defend his parliamentary seat in the next general election.
Nizar told The Malaysian Insider earlier today that he will instead focus on winning Perak from the current state BN administration.