The Barisan Nasional (BN) accepts the defeat of its candidate in the Kuala Terengganu by-election and respects the people’s choice as per the democratic process, said Deputy Prime Minister Datuk Seri Najib Tun Razak.

He said as a party that upheld democratic principles, the BN accepted “the people’s voice is supreme”.

“This loss does not mean we (BN) will in any way waver in a our commitment to the people. We will redouble our efforts to serve the people,” he told a press conference at Seri Iman, the Menteri Besar’s residence, here tonight.

Also present were Terengganu Menteri Besar Datuk Ahmad Said, BN and Umno secretary -general Datuk Seri Tengku Adnan Tengku Mansor, Umno Youth chief Datuk Seri Hishammuddin Hussein and the BN candidate, Datuk Wan Ahmad Farid Wan Salleh.

PAS’ candidate Mohd Abdul Wahid Endut won the by-election with a majority of 2,631 votes when he garnered 32,883 votes against Wan Ahmad Farid’s 30,252 votes, while independent candidate Azharudin Mamat alias Adam only received 193 votes and lost his deposit.

Najib said the BN would also take various measures to strengthen the coalition in order to win back the people’s confidence.

“I am confident that in the end the people will be confident of the BN,” he said.

On the bigger majority obtained by the PAS candidate, he said the BN could not make hasty conclusions though it was a setback for Umno and the BN.

“This is a by-election… many factors could have influenced the outcome and local factors cannot be read as having a great bearing at the national level,” he said.

However, Najib said BN viewed the result of the by-election seriously and would conduct an in-depth study on the way forward for Umno and BN.

“We will continue with our commitment to serve the people even better and to take this nation to a better and higher level of success, God-willing ,” he said.

The Deputy Prime Minister said the defeat would not be discussed in detail at the forthcoming BN Convention as its purpose was to determine the future of BN as a whole.

Najib also dismissed the notion that the people had sidelined the BN as it had lost two by-elections in a row, the first being the Permatang Pauh seat in August last year.

“We lost in Permatang Pauh before but this loss (Kuala Terengganu) will serve as a lesson and stepping stone to move forward more positively,” he said.