Barisan Nasional (BN) will make early preparations to face the by-elections in the Bukit Gantang parliamentary seat in Perak and Bukit Selambau state seat in Kedah, Datuk Seri Abdullah Ahmad Badawi said.

“We should start our preparations now. We have to work very hard to win these seats,” he told a news conference after opening a public service officers’ conference at the Putrajaya International Convention Centre (PICC) here.

The Bukit Gantang seat fell vacant following the death of Pas member of parliament, Roslan Shaharum, due to a heart attack yesterday while the Bukit Selambau seat was vacated by former Kedah executive councillor V. Arumugam of Parti Keadilan Rakyat (PKR), effective yesterday.

Abdullah said that all parties would play their roles as soon as the Election Commission (EC) announced the dates for the two by-elections.

Hard work and unity among BN component parties would be crucial to win the seats, he said.

Asked on Umno’s strategies for the by-elections, Abdullah, who is Umno president, said he would discuss the matter with his deputy Datuk Seri Najib Tun Razak and other party leaders.

“At the moment, we have not discussed about candidates,” he said, adding that the BN would not necessarily use the same strategies in each by-election.

He said that the BN would answer each and every issue that would be raised during the campaign.

“What is important is to be fully prepared for the by-elections.”

In the 12th general election last year, Roslan polled 20,015 votes to win the Bukit Gantang parliamentary seat with a majority of 1,566 votes.

He defeated BN’s Datuk Seri Azim Mohd Zabidi of Umno and an Independent candidate M. Murganan, who polled 18,449 and 872 votes respectively.

In Bukit Gantang, Arumugam, who contested as an Independent candidate, polled 13,225 votes to win the seat by a 2,362-vote majority, beating BN’s S. Krishnan of MIC who polled 10,863 votes.

He later joined PKR and was appointed state executive council member when PKR, Pas and DAP formed the Pakatan Rakyat state government.