by P PREM KUMAR / TMR file pix
The 14th General Election (GE14) will see the battle for 222 parliamentary and 505 state seats in what some analysts described as the closest general election in the country’s 61-year history.
The May 9 polling day, a Wednesday, is also seen by observers as the closest to a two-party system contest — Barisan Nasional (BN) and Pakatan Harapan. PAS is seen as the third party, looking to become the deciding block in the event of a hung Parliament.
This election will also see the battle of two towering giants in the country’s political arena, with Datuk Seri Mohd Najib Razak leading BN and former Prime Minister Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad helming the Opposition. In the 2013 GE, the Chinese tsunami helped to give the Opposition a larger block of popular votes, but BN gained the upper hand in the number of Parliament seats.
Here is a look at GE13, the major showdowns and the results then.
It may be the smallest state with the least number of seats, but GE13 witnessed some major showdowns.
Minister in the Prime Minister’s Department Datuk Seri Shahidan Kassim was challenged by the late PAS spiritual leader and wellrespected preacher Datuk Dr Haron Din for the Arau parliamentary seat.
Despite Shahidan’s vast influence in the state as a federal minister and former mentri besar (MB), he only secured a 1,371-vote majority. The ever popular Haron secured 47% of the 38,312 votes casted, while Shahidan got 50.6%.
Datuk Saifuddin Abdullah, a well-known progressive leader within Umno (then), lost the Temerloh Parliament constituency in GE13 to second-time contender Nasrudin Hassan of PAS. Saifuddin was a former deputy higher education minister and was known for his moderate and liberal-progressive approach in Umno and the government.
Pahang also witnessed two BN component parties’ leaders winning their parliamentary constituencies with very slim majorities. Then MIC president Datuk Seri G Palanivel won the Cameron Highlands seat with a 462vote difference from DAP candidate Manogaran Marimuthu and two other independent candidates.
MCA president Datuk Seri Liow Tiong Lai won the Bentong seat with a 379-vote majority against DAP’s Wong Tack. Liow has been Bentong’s MP since 1999.
A completely urban seat Shah Alam was also the focus in the last polls when then PAS candidate Khalid Samad successfully defended his seat against Datuk Zulkifli Noordin, who was the Kulim Bandar Bharu MP between 20082013, on a PKR ticket.
Khalid came from a prominent political family, with brother and former Minister Tan Sri Shahrir Samad (picture) constantly regarded as a “winnable candidate” by Umno in the Johor Baru constituency. Meanwhile, Zulkifli rose to prominence during the controversy over the use of the word “Allah” in a Catholic publication and a viral video of him mocking Hinduism.
Khalid garnered 49,009 votes to defend the seat with a 10,939vote majority.
In the centre of the capital, the attention was on Lembah Pantai with Datuk Seri Anwar Ibrahim’s daughter Nurul Izzah Anwar defending her seat against former minister and well-established businessman Datuk Seri Raja Nong Raja Chik Raja Zainal Abidin.
Nurul Izzah’s meteoric rise came after her giant defeat of Umno Wanita chief and former Minister Tan Sri Sharizat Abdul Jalil in the 2008 GE. Nurul Izzah repeated the feat against Raja Nong Chik in GE13.
Raja Nong Chik was unknown to many until he was named as a minister in Prime Minister Datuk Seri Mohd Najib Razak’s first Cabinet after the latter took over the country’s premiership in 2009. A businessman by profession, Raja Nong Chik was sworn in as a senator to be made minister.
Nurul Izzah won Lembah Pantai with a narrow majority of 1,847 votes, where she garnered 31,008 votes against Raja Nong Chik’s 29,161 votes.
The country’s administrative capital Putrajaya, which is considered a safe seat by BN, witnessed three-term MP Datuk Seri Tengku Adnan Tengku Mansor standing against well-known PAS (then) leader Husam Musa.
Husam was a star within PAS, having served as Kubang Kerian MP and Kelantan state legislative member. He was known for his interest in public issues including economy, given his background as an economics graduate from University Malaya.
Tengku Adnan was a prominent politician, being both BN and Umno’s secretary general. As expected, he emerged victorious with a majority of 5,541 votes from a total 14,418 votes.
Melaka had a fair share of adrenalin pumping and shocking results. Chief minister (CM) of 12 years, Tan Sri Mohd Ali Mohd Rustam had contested for a parliamentary seat instead of a state seat as the party tried to bring him back to the federal level.
He contested against Shamsul Iskandar Md Akin, then the youth leader of PKR, for the Bukit Katil parliamentary seat. In what was described as one of the election shocks, Mohd Ali lost to Shamsul by a big majority of 5,733 votes. Shamsul polled 46,357 votes, while Mohd Ali secured 40,624 votes.
The state saw the battles of the heavyweights. Attention was on Gelang Patah with Tan Sri Abdul Ghani Othman, Johor MB since 1995 (until 2013), going against DAP’s towering figure Lim Kit Siang.
Abdul Ghani’s 18 years of political influence in leading the state failed to convince Gelang Patah voters. He lost the seat with an unexpected majority of 14,762 votes. Lim polled 54,285 votes against 39,522 by Abdul Ghani.
In Segamat, then deputy president of MIC Datuk Seri Dr S Subramaniam was challenged by former Health Minister Datuk Dr Chua Jui Meng. Chua was the country’s longest-serving health minister between 1995-2004, after which he joined Opposition party PKR.
Subramaniam managed to defend his Segamat seat, held since 2004, with a slim majority of 1,217 votes.
In Johor Baru, Umno veteran Shahrir faced General (Rtd) Tan Sri Md Hashim Hussein, who was the Malaysian Army Chief from 1999 to 2002. But Johor Baru voters stuck with Shahrir, giving him a 10,495vote majority.
The dispute between the Kitingan brothers was a key highlight in the state and how it would shape the outcome of GE13. Former CM and sitting Deputy CM Tan Sri Joseph Pairin Kitingan was challenged by State Reform Party or STAR candidate Datuk Dr Jeffrey Gapari Kitingan, for the Keningau parliamentary seat.
Joseph’s vast experience in the state’s administration and local issues was questioned by Jeffrey — a Harvard University graduate. Jeffrey was known to be a controversial politician, having been detained without trial under the infamous Internal Security Act on suspicion of plotting to secede Sabah from the federation of Malaysia.
That, however, was not enough to convince the Keningau voters who handed Joseph a victory with a 3,918 majority. He polled 15,818 votes against Jeffrey’s 11,900 votes in a three-cornered tussle. Independent candidate Stephen Sandor secured 7,825 votes.