Barisan Nasional (BN) leaders said Seberang Jaya State Assemblyman Datuk Ariff Shah Omar Shah is the best candidate to challenge Parti Keadilan Rakyat (PKR) adviser Datuk Seri Anwar Ibrahim in the Permatang Pauh by-election on Aug 26.

Penang MCA liaison chairman Datuk Liow Tiong Lai was confident Ariff Shah who could speak Mandarin and Hokkien would attract the Chinese voters.

“MCA will fully support him in wresting the Permatang Pauh seat,” the MCA Youth chief told Bernama here Wednesday night.

Penang Umno liaison deputry chairman Datuk Abdul Rashid Abdullah said he was confident that Ariff Shah would get strong backing from the Chinese and Indian voters.

“The two-term Seberang Jaya assemblyman had proven his ability in serving his contituency,” he told reporters after Deputy Prime Minister and Umno deputy president Datuk Seri Najib Tun Razak announced the BN candidate at Bandar Sunway Convention Centre here.

Gerakan secretary-general Datuk Seri Chia Kwang Chye said Ariff Shah was a capable candidate and his ability to defend the Seberang Jaya state seat was the reason why he was chosen to contest in Permatang Pauh.

“Ariff is facing a daunting task and our objective is to reduce the majority of the opposition from the last election,” he said.

Penang Umno Youth chief Datuk Salim Abdul Bari said the movement would canvass for support among the youths and persuade them to vote in the by-election.

“We are confident that Ariff Shah can give a good fight and it is not impossible for him to win,” he said.

Meanwhile, Datuk Pirdaus Ismail, the BN candidate for Permatang Pauh in the last two general elections said he was happy for Ariff Shah as the candidate was his close friend.

“I will support and campaign hard for him,” he said, adding, that he was not disappointed for not being chosen to stand again in Permatang Pauh.