BN is currently getting feedback from the grassroots on which of its coalition member parties should field a candidate in the coming Tanjung Piai by-election in Johor.
Umno vice-president Ismail Sabri said the coalition has yet to shortlist potential candidates.
However, he said consideration should be given more towards finding a winnable candidate instead of which party should contest in the Nov 16 parliamentary polls.
“We have not shortlisted (candidates) as we do not even know which party the candidate will come from. Let’s determine which party (will contest) first, before deciding on the candidate.
“We are studying the grassroots from the point of acceptance by the people. What is important is not who contests, but that whoever does must win.
“The bottom line is we must win,” Ismail said at Parliament lobby today.
The marginal Tanjung Piai seat was traditionally contested by MCA until Bersatu’s Dr Md Farid Md Rafik defeated MCA's two-term incumbent Wee Jeck Seng with a slim majority of 524 votes in GE14.
Although PAS’ Nordin Othman only obtained 2,962 votes to Farid’s 21,255 in GE14, in theory, BN and its new ally PAS could collectively obtain higher combined votes compared with Harapan this time.
Ismail Sabri, meanwhile, said today that both Umno and MCA have reasons to contest the seat, but it was ultimately up to BN Supreme Council to decide.
Ismail’s statement came as Umno president Ahmad Zahid Hamidi on Saturday hinted that Umno could contest the seat.
Ahmad Zahid said Malays, comprising the majority of the voter-makeup in the constituency, wanted change.
However, MCA chief Wee Ka Siong said a decision has been reached following a lengthy discussion with Ahmad Zahid on the matter.
However, he said any candidate announcement would be made collectively at the central BN level.
The Tanjung Piai parliamentary by-election will be the ninth by-election since the 14th General Election.
The parliamentary seat fell vacant after the death of Farid, 42, on Sept 21.
The constituency has approximately 54,000 voters, with 57 percent Malay compared with 42 percent Chinese and one percent Indians.