Penanti : Tiada dacing di mana-mana

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By-election scores several firsts
Athi Veeranggan | May 23, 09 3:47pm Malaysiakini.com
The Penanti by-election in Penang, which will see a four-cornered fight, has notched up several firsts as campaigning kicks off today.

MCPX

This is the first time a state constituency will be having its third elections in 14 months.

Penanti voters went to the ballot box at the general election in March last year, then again at Permatang Pauh parliamentary by-election five months later, and now a by-election for the state seat.

Penanti falls under the Permatang Pauh parliamentary seat, which is the stronghold of PKR and Pakatan Rakyat leader Anwar Ibrahim.

The by-election will also see for the first time a Malaysian citizen of Thai origin, in form of independent candidate Nai Khan Ari Nai Keow, 41, contesting in an election in Penang.

penanti state seat 210409Above all, this is the first election in which Barisan Nasional has failed to field a candidate in recent years. This is also the first time Umno has stayed out of a contest for a seat in the Malay heartland.

The Penanti by-election would score another first if PKR and Pakatan candidate Mansor Othman, 59, were to win as it would be his maiden success after suffering three electoral defeats.

Previously Mansor was defeated in the Balik Pulau parliamentary battle in the 1999 general elections, Seberang Jaya in 2004 and Pulau Betong in 2008.

Mansor was accompanied by PKR supremo Anwar and other Pakatan leaders as well as at least 3,000 supporters to the nomination centre this morning where he submitted his papers.

Also present were PKR leaders – Saifuddin Nasution, Mohd Zahrain Mohd Hashim, Azmin Ali, Khalid Ibrahim and Tian Chua, DAP leaders – Lim Guan Eng, Lim Kit Siang, Tan Seng Giaw and Chow Kon Yeow, and PAS leaders – Mohammad Nizar Jamaluddin and Mohammad Sabu.

But the atmosphere outside the nomination centre failed to ignite any carnival mood, unlike during the Permatang Pauh by-election nine months ago, mainly due to the absence of Umno and BN.

Despite that BN is staying out of the race, which resulted in Mansor being the overwhelming favourite, it will not be smooth ride for him.

penanti by election nomination230509 02.jpgBesides former local Gerakan leader Nai, Mansor will be facing two other independent candidates – former Penang PKR Wanita chief Aminah Abdullah, 57, and Kamarul Ramizu Idris, 42, who was also a contestant in the Bukit Gantang by-election two months ago.

It could have been a five-cornered tussle if not for the disqualification of another independent candidate, Mohd Saberi Othman, 49, on technical grounds after a protest by a PKR supporter.

mohd saberi othman independent candidate for penanti penang by election 190509 04Saberi (right) hurriedly left the nomination centre at the National Youth Skills Institute in Penanti after returning officer Roslan Yahaya confirmed the candidature of the other four.

Symbols allocated for the independent candidates are the ‘key’ for Aminah, ‘wau’ (kite) for Nai Khan and ‘umbrella’ for Kamarul. Mansor will be using the PKR logo.

“I am looking forward to winning the by-election with a resounding victory. However, we will have to work hard to score a big win,” said Mansor when asked about his chances in what could be his first electoral win.

Aminah drops a bombshell

Meanwhile, Aminah dropped a bombshell soon after she emerged from the nomination centre. She claimed that certain PKR leaders had offered her money to withdraw from the contest.

But she declined to elaborate when pressed for details, saying that she would reveal them at a press conference tomorrow.

penanti by election nomination230509 aminah abdullah.jpgAminah, who resigned from PKR late last year after a fallout with state party leader Mohd Zahrain, wants to contest the by-election “to uphold justice and truth”.

Her agenda was to expose “all political wrongdoings and malpractices in PKR and Pakatan”, obviously to avenge her unceremonious exit from PKR.

Kamarul Ramizu, who garnered only 62 votes in Bukit Gantang, seeks to improve on his tally this time.

“Hopefully, I will get more votes, perhaps adding two more zeroes for a 6,200 vote tally. If I win, I present an umbrella to every Penanti voter,” he joked.

Kamarul has already submitted an application form to the Registrar of Societies to register a new political party – Parti Iman SeMalaysia (PIS).

He said he would be using the by-election to disseminate information on his party’s political agenda, which focuses on “peaceful, caring, loving and people-orientated governance”.

Kamarul, who is married with seven children, does not fancy his chances in Penanti. As such, he did not rule out the possibility of contesting the forthcoming Manik Urai state by-election in Kelantan.

penanti by election nomination230509 kamarul 02.jpgDuring his press meet, Kamarul was greeted by former Perak menteri besar and Bukit Gantang parliamentarian Nizar (left).

Both had a face-off along with Umno candidate Ismail Saffian in Bukit Gantang.

Nai said he was proud to represent the Thai Malaysian community for the first time in an electoral contest.

Returning office Roslan confirmed that there were six objections – including the successful one against Mohd Saberi – during the objection period between 10am and 11am.

Nomination opened at 9am and closed at 12 noon.

Aminah was first to submit her nomination papers at 9.03am, followed by Mansor (9.10am), Mohd Saberi (9.11am), Nai (9.15am) and Kamarul (9.17am).

penanti nomination 230509 cops supportersThe police had closed several roads near the nomination centre since 6am to control the crowd and they were not reopened until 1pm.

The Penanti state seat fell vacant following the resignation of former deputy chief minister 1 (DCM 1) Mohammad Fairus Khairuddin as its state representative on April 16.

With nominations coming to a close, all four candidates can now officially begin their eight-day campaign, which will end at midnight of May 30. Balloting will be on May 31.

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