PONTIAN, Oct 30 — Pakatan Harapan’s (PH) Tanjung Piai candidate Karmaine Sardini today brushed off criticism over his age, saying that it should not be a factor in the upcoming by-election.
The 66-year-old said he personally did not care about the age factor, which has been played up by the Opposition, as it will not weaken his resolve to carry out his duties as a candidate for Tanjung Piai.
“My boss (Prime Minister Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad), who is 94 years old, is still a world leader,” said Karmaine when met at the Kukup state legislative coordinator’s office in Kukup here today.
Karmaine, a seasoned local politician, admitted that it was a challenge for him when his age (as a parliamentary candidate) was being questioned by many.
“This includes my friend Hasni (Johor BN chief Datuk Hasni Mohamad).
“Despite that, a few of his words will not weaken me to carry on with my struggle,” said Karmaine in response to Hasni’s passing remark about whether his age made him a suitable candidate for the Tanjung Piai by-election.
On Monday, Hasni was reported as saying that PH’s candidate “is 66, going to be 67 next year and hopefully, there won’t be another by-election as elections are tiring”.
He made his remark about Karmaine’s age during the launch of Barisan Nasional’s (BN) machinery for the by-election in Pontian.
Karmaine, who is also the Tanjung Piai Parti Pribumi Bersatu Malaysia (Bersatu) division chief, also denied claims that he has fake education credentials.
He explained that he obtained an Advanced Diploma in Architecture in the 1980s, when Universiti Teknologi Mara (UiTM) was then known as the Mara Institute of Technology (ITM).
“My qualification is on par with having a bachelor’s degree, which later allowed me to become an architect with the Kuala Lumpur City Hall,” said Karmaine who is also an imam at the Al-Muttaqin Mosque in Taman Sutera, near Taman Perling in Johor Baru.
BN is scheduled to officially announce its by-election candidate at 8.30pm here tonight.
On Monday, PH announced Karmaine as its by-election candidate, while earlier that same day, Gerakan named its deputy secretary-general Wendy Subramaniam as its candidate for the contest.
The Election Commission has set November 2 as Nomination Day and November 16 as polling day for the Tanjung Piai parliamentary by-election.
The by-election was triggered after incumbent, Datuk Dr Md Farid Md Rafik died of heart complications on September 21.
Dr Md Farid won the seat in the previous general election after he defeated BN’s Wee Jeck Seng and PAS’ Nordin Othman in a three-way contest.
The Tanjung Piai constituency is a mixed seat comprising 57 per cent Malays, 42 per cent Chinese and 1 per cent Indians.
The seat has been traditionally contested by MCA and DAP since 2004. In 2018, DAP ceded the seat to Bersatu to contest under its PH campaign.