It will not only be the headliners like Lim Kit Siang or Zulkifli Noordin in the spotlight for the next 15 days as we get into the official campaign period for Election 2013. A quick glance at the candidates for several seats around the country is enough to give even the most casual political observer plenty to think and get excited about. In Putrajaya, we have Barisan Nasional’s Datuk Seri Tengku Adnan Tengku Mansor a party veteran and current party secretary-general facing off with PAS vice-president Datuk Husam Musa.
Husam’s decision to stand in Putrajaya is seen as a bold move, and signals the first direct incursion into the heart of the current administration. The Kelantan man is hoping to appeal to the substantial number of Kelantan-born in the civil service who stay in Putrajaya. It will be interesting to see if his brand of politics appeals to the people there. In Shah Alam, we have a straight fight between former PKR man Datuk Zulkifli Noordin running under the Friends of BN ticket with long-time rival and incumbent Shah Alam MP Khalid Samad of PAS. The controversial Zulkifli Noordin who made headlines recently with apparent slurs against Hindus and Indians and know for his ultra Islamist stance may just be able to wrest the seat from Khalid.
This will be a battle for the souls; ironically, Zul Noordin will be the one taking on the role of a Muslim hardliner while Khalid, who is from an Islamist party, is seen to be a centrist who openly engages with Malaysians of other faiths. In Election 2008, Khalid even spoke to Catholics in their church in Shah Alam. He is popular with non-Muslims in his constituency, but this has been turned into a negative in recent days as the Muslims fear he is too inclusive. Over at Pandan, the popular incumbent MP, Datuk Seri Ong Tee Keat, is not running against PKR’s Rafizi Ramli but the fight will still be interesting for several reasons.
A day before nomination, BN’s candidate, lawyer Gary Lim, was hit by professional misconduct and fraud allegations. He is likely to face a disciplinary hearing of the Malaysian Bar to answer to these allegations. Rafizi, who is PKR’s strategy director, has made a name for himself with a series of exposés like the high-profile National Feedlot Centre (NFC) scandal is definitely the front runner in this race though. The third candidate in the race for Pandan is Ong’s former political secretary, Allan Tan, and it is thought he may take away some votes for Rafizi and Lim as some people see him as Ong’s proxy. By far, the most-publicised race in the Klang Valley will be that in Lembah Pantai. Incumbent MP Nurul Izzah Anwar is Opposition Leader Datuk Seri Anwar Ibrahim’s daughter and many in Barisan Nasional see her as the successor to the PKR throne.
As such, no expense has been spared to bring her down. A look at the number of Barisan Nasional flags that have aggressively sprouted up all over the constituency gives credence to this claim. BN’s Datuk Raja Nong Chik Raja Zainal Abidin, who is also interim Federal Territory minister, seems equal to the task. This will be an interesting battle to watch as the constituency is divided into the affluent and middle-class Bangsar and the more working-class Pantai Dalam. Will Nurul Izzah be able to hold on to the seat she so narrowly won with 2,895 votes in 2008? All eyes will be on her and Raja Nong Chik the next 15 days. Across the country in Raub is blogger extraordinaire Sakmongkol AK47, whose real name is Datuk Mohamed Ariff Sabri Aziz, from the DAP versus MCA’s Datuk Hoy Khai Mun. Known for his pithy and highly-critical blog posts against Barisan Nasional, the former Umno man and once political aide to Datuk Seri Najib Razak, may just win over the Chinese voters who make up 44 per cent of the constituency’s electorate and help burnish DAP’s multi-racial credentials. But the biggest fight in GE13 is probably the one in Gelang Patah, Johor. It will see DAP veteran Lim Kit Siang go against caretaker Johor mentri besar Datuk Abdul Ghani Othman.
Battle of the giants? It is no exaggeration to think of the fight as such. After all, BN’s Ghani is a four-term mentri besar who brought in high-profile developments like Iskandar to the state. Kit Siang, of course, is so synonymous with DAP that people think of him as the party head even though it is his son, Lim Guan Eng, who is the secretary-general of the party. Kit Siang is the heart of the party and he leads this foray into Johor which is often described as Umno’s fort. Will GE13, already touted as the mother of all elections, live up to its billing? From the looks of these seats and who is fighting who, the answer is already a resounding yes. ~themalaysianinsider.com~