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BAGAN PINANG nomination day

Campaign for the Bagan Pinang by-election begins today with Umno’s strongman Tan Sri Mohd Isa Abdul Samad facing Negri Sembilan PAS chief Zulkefly Omar in a straight fight. Returning officer Abdul Wahab Samsuddin announced the acceptance of their nominations at 11.20am, saying that the Election Commission received only two objections and both were rejected. Former PKR member Shahruddin Abdul Wahab, who had announced his intention to stand, failed to submit his papers as his proposer is not a voter in the Bagan Pinang state constituency.

PAS is expected to manipulate Isa's tainted past and the fact that the former Negri Sembilan mentri besar's candidacy was also opposed by Umno veteran Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad. “The basis of a clean government is a clean candidate,” said PAS's Datuk Husam Musa, adding that he does not see bringing up Isa's past as a personal attack. “If it is related to governance, the public has the right to know,” added the Kelantan state executive councillor. Umno deputy president Tan Sri Muhyiddin Yassin told the press the party will handle all issues raised by the federal opposition including on corruption. He reiterated his stand that Isa is the best candidate who understands local issues.

“I am not a recycled candidate, I only did not contest in 2008; the PKR leader did not contest for six years, so who was recycled,” said Isa, referring to opposition leader Datuk Seri Anwar Ibrahim who was imprisoned for six years. “I'm here only to serve the people,” he added when asked if he will seek to be reappointed as mentri besar if he wins. Zulkefly, who had contested and lost three times before, also defended his candidacy just minutes after it was confirmed. “I was born and raised in Negri Sembilan,” he told reporters when asked about his chances as he is a registered voter in the Lenggeng state constituency.

Earlier, supporters of both parties started gathering as early as 7am at their respective meeting points just outside Port Dickson to march to the nomination centre at the municipal council building.vPolice too started blocking the road leading to the nomination centre and traffic along the major federal road connecting this coastal town to Malacca was reduced to a crawl.The thousands of supporters who were marching to the nomination were then greeted by heavy rain just before the nomination began at 9am.

Pakatan Rakyat (PR) leaders Datuk Seri Abdul Hadi Awang and Tan Sri Abdul Khalid Ibrahim arrived with Zulkefly at about 8.30am amid heavy rain. While Isa arrived just a little before 9am accompanied by BN election chief Muhyiddin, Datuk Seri Hishammuddin Hussein, Datuk Seri Ahmad Zahid Hamidi and BN component party leaders Datuk Seri Ong Tee Keat, Datuk Seri S. Samy Vellu Tan Sri Dr Koh Tsu Koon.


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