The Sun Daily
Posted on 17 April 2013
KUALA LUMPUR (April 17, 2013): As political parties tie up the loose ends to their candidate line-ups for the 13th general election on May 5, the political battle taking shape in hot seats — Gelang Patah, Putrajaya and Lembah Pantai — are being keenly watched.
Billed the “battle royale” or “clash of the Titans”, the tussle for Gelang Patah (broken bracelet) parliamentary seat is a battle between political bigwigs — Johor Menteri Besar Datuk Abdul Ghani Othman and DAP supremo Lim Kit Siang –who is out to create a “political tsunami” in Johor, an Umno bastion.
Kit Siang, a political veteran, was reported to have said in Penang recently that he would not withdraw from contesting in Gelang Patah as he wanted the “political tsunami” created in the 2008 general election to be felt nationwide.
Prof Datuk Dr Mohamed Mustafa Ishak, who heads the Political, Security and International Affairs Cluster of the National Council of Professors, says Ghani’s service track record as the menteri besar and the people’s elected representative is a “good benchmark” to gauge the “best choice” for the rapidly-developing suburban seat.
“Ghani is the supremo and the architect of Johor’s impressive progress. He is also very popular among the electorate vis-a-vis Kit Siang, a relatively newcomer to Johor’s political scene.
“By far and large, the voters, including the Chinese community, appreciate what Ghani has done for Johor. Ghani is instrumental in developing Nusajaya and the Iskandar Malaysia economic corridor, besides being the person very familiar with Johor’s “nooks and corners” as opposed to Kit Siang,” he told Bernama.
Nusajaya, the Johor state government’s new administrative centre, encompasses the Southern Industrial and Logistics Clusters, medical hub and EduCity.
The BN’s Tan Ah Heng from MCA won the Gelang Patah seat in the 2008 general election by a comfortable 8,851-vote majority, trouncing Parti Keadilan Rakyat’s (PKR) aspirant Zaliha Mustafa.
Mohamed Mustafa says Ghani’s prospects of retaining Gelang Patah for BN was bright albeit the keen tussle for the predominantly Chinese-majority seat. Fifty-four per cent of the electorate are Chinese.
He said it was unlikely for the voters to reject someone who had contributed immensely to Johor’s meteorise rise in mainstream development as compared to Kit Siang, the two-term Ipoh Timur member of parliament, who moved to Johor this time.
“Kit Siang is banking on Chinese votes and relying on his political ally, PAS, to deliver the Malay votes in Gelang Patah,” he said, admitting that the Gelang Patah clash was a “do-or-die” battle for the two heavyweights.
The Malays form 33 per cent of the electorate and 12 per cent Indians.
Another keenly-fought seat is the Putrajaya parliamentary seat where a fierce fight is taking shape between Umno and BN secretary-general Datuk Seri Tengku Adnan Tengku Mansor, a two-term incumbent, and PAS vice-president Datuk Husam Musa.
Husam’s nomination has probably raised a few eyebrows on his real motive to move from a state seat in Kelantan to Putrajaya, the federal government’s administrative capital.
The speculation is that he has moved to Putrajaya “siphon off” civil servants’ votes on the presumption that he will be the prime minister should the opposition alliance succeed in its bid to make it to Putrajaya.
Universiti Sains Malaysia Social Science Studies lecturer Prof Ahmad Atory Hussein, who noted an element of parochialism in Husam’s move, believed it would not influence civil servants’ votes who would definitely rally behind the BN to support its transformation and development agenda, backed by the fact that Tengku Adnan has an excellent service track record.
“Definitely Husam’s victory chances are slim, more so he is not familiar with the voters than Tengku Adnan,” he added.
Another hot seat is the Lembah Pantai parliamentary constituency, which will see a tough fight between Parti Keadilan Rakyat vice-president Nurul Izzah Anwar; who is defending the urban seat against Federal Territories and Urban Wellbeing Minister Datuk Raja Nong Chik Raja Zainal Abidin.
Raja Nong Chik, throughout his term as a federal minister, has been working for the betterment of Lembah Pantai, including the development of Kampung Kerinchi’s four-storey flats and introducing special scheme for housebuyers under the National Economic Action Council’s People Housing and Kuala Lumpur City Hall’s Public Housing Programme.
He is also instrumental for the three Mass Rapid Transit lines and construction of the 1Malaysia Library Complex for the benefit of more than 20,000 residents in Lembah Pantai.
Meanwhile, the Shah Alam parliamentary seat that will be defended by the Selangor PAS deputy commissioner III Khalid Samad against Perkasa vice-president Datuk Zulkifli Noordin is also expected to be keenly followed.
Zulkifli’s candidacy, who has held the Kulim Bandar Baharu parliamentary seat for BN, surprised many. Zulkifli, who has a legal background and has championed many religious issues, is seen as a viable contender against Khalid, who has drawn much controversy in his handling of contentious issues such as the use of the word “Allah” by the Christians and failing to fulfil his promise to close liquor factories in Selangor. – Bernama