Tanjung Piai by-election: 52,000 voters to decide tomorrow

Analysts predict that this by-election, the 9th after the May 9 polls last year, will be tough for PH to retain

by TMR/ pic by MUHD AMIN NAHARUL

AFTER two gruelling weeks of campaigning, more than 52,000 voters in Tanjung Piai will go to the ballot box tomorrow to decide which candidate to represent them, amid dividing sentiments between the ruling coalition Pakatan Harapan (PH) and Barisan Nasional (BN).

There are 52,986 voters in the parliamentary constituency, including 280 early voters and eight absentee voters.

Analysts have predicted that this by-election, the ninth after the May 9 polls last year, would be tough for PH to retain.

Its incumbent, the late Datuk Dr Md Farid Md Rafik won the seat with only 524 majority of votes in the 14th General Election, defeating BN-MCA candidate Datuk Seri Dr Wee Jeck Seng and PAS’ Nordin Othman.

The seat fell vacant following his death on Sept 21, due to heart complications.

This time, PH named Karmaine Sardini, 66, as its candidate in the six-cornered fight.

BN nominated Wee again due to his influence among the locals, while former BN component party, Gerakan, put forth Wendy Subramaniam as a candidate. Others who are contesting include Datuk Dr Badhrulhisham Abdul Aziz (Berjasa) and two independent candidates, Dr Ang Chuan Lock and Faridah Aryani Abd Ghani.

Bernama reported that various leaders from the candidates’ respective parties have also entered the fray, holding meetings, group talks, as well as meet-and- greet sessions with voters at the 27 polling centres in the constituency.

Although the first week of campaigning was somewhat muted, the presence of PKR president Datuk Seri Anwar Ibrahim on Monday set the campaigning momentum for PH.

The visit by Prime Minister Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad and his wife Tun Dr Siti Hasmah Ali with PH leaders also helped boost Karmaine’s popularity among voters.

Dr Mahathir highlighted the need for PH-led government to continue with the reform agenda, despite being saddled by various problems inherited from the previous federal government.

He also criticised the MCA-PAS cooperation, describing it as insincere, mainly aimed at winning this by-election.

“Insincere. Hypocritical. In front (of the Malays) they claim to champion the Malays, when they come here (Tanjung Piai), (they support) the non-Malays…they only think of winning the by-election,” Bernama quoted Dr Mahathir as saying.

It has been suggested that this by-election would be a test of the PAS-BN cooperation, inked in the Muafakat Nasional charter, to influence PAS supporters to vote for Wee.

Meanwhile, Election Commission chairman Datuk Azhar Azizan Harun had reminded voters to arrive early at the polling stations as voting begins from 8am until 5.30pm.

He suggested that voters, who have not received the voter card, possibly due to change of address, or do not know the voting information, to check for these details before polling day tomorrow. — TMR