The decision was expected as Datuk Najib had previously indicated that BN was not interested in 'wasting public funds' by taking part in the by-election, which he said was a political game being played by the Opposition.
The seat fell vacant following the resignation of the former Penang Deputy Chief Minister (I), PKR's Mohammad Fairus Khairuddin. PKR has already named Mansor Othman as its candidate.
Barisan will not contest in Penanti: Najib
KUALA LUMPUR: Barisan Nasional has decided not to contest the Penanti by-election on May 31, coalition chairman Datuk Seri Najib Tun Razak said.
Najib said the by-election was a political game being played by the Opposition and they did not want to play to their tune.
Despite calls for Barisan to contest in the by-election, Najib said the decision the coalition made on Monday was unanimous, after a lengthy discussion.
"Barisan’s priority is to serve the people and work to revive the country’s economy," said Najib, who is also Prime Minister, at a press conference here Monday evening.
He had earlier chaired the Barisan supreme council meeting where the issue was discussed.
Asked if the decision might disappoint Barisan supporters in Penanti, Najib said he did not think so as the coalition would still face the people during the next general election.
He added that the decision not to contest would not affect the service provided to the people, and the coalition would serve in Penanti and Permatang Pauh in its own way.
On whether there had ever been a by-election in which Barisan had not contested, he said was informed there was one instance before.
However, he added that there had never been a case before where one was held under the same circumstances as Penanti.
The Penanti state seat fell vacant on April 17, after the resignation of PKR assemblyman Mohammad Fairus Khairuddin, who also quit as Penang Deputy Chief Minister I.
Pakatan Rakyat has chosen PKR’s Dr Mansor Othman as its candidate for the by-election.
Nomination has been set for May 23. Ther Star