Seats to watch out for in GE15

The fierce fight for votes is on as quite a few candidates hop across parties, coalitions and even state lines


ARE you feeling the election heat yet?

Well, buckle up and join the ride as the trip to the polls this time will surely be as scorching and as unpredictable, if not more

so, as the 14th General Election (GE14). Back then, Pakatan Harapan (PH) — consisting of Parti Pribumi Bersatu Malaysia, PKR, DAP and Parti Amanah Negara — created history by ending Barisan Nasional’s (BN) reign since 1955.

Alas, the PH government lasted less than two years. It came tumbling down on Feb 24, 2020, following the sudden resignation of then Prime Minister (PM) Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad and the departure of Bersatu from the PH coalition.

Bersatu’s Tan Sri Muhyiddin Yassin then became the eighth PM after then PKR deputy president Datuk Seri Mohamed Azmin Ali joined forces with Bersatu, Umno and PAS — forming Perikatan Nasional (PN) — to overthrow the PH government. Muhyiddin’s reign lasted only one year and 169 days before Datuk Seri Ismail Sabri Yaakob took over after 15 Umno MPs withdrew their support for PN. However, Ismail Sabri managed only one years and 52 days before Parliament’s dissolution on Oct 10.

With 222 parliamentary seats up for grabs and quite a few candidates hopping across parties, coalitions and state lines, many “hot” seats may become the decider for GE15, and who becomes the next PM and the next finance minister etc. Here’s a look at a few of these contentious seats.

Let’s start with our oldest candidate Dr Mahathir, 97, who’s the incumbent for P004 Langkawi parliamentary seat. The nonagenarian is contesting under the Gerakan Tanah Air (GTA) coalition against BN’s Datuk Armishah Siraj, 58, PN Datuk Suhaimi Abdullah, 64, and PH’s Zabidi Yahya.

The former PM is expected to retain the seat, but he may be looking at a lower majority compared to the 8,893 majority votes in 2018 as Armishah musters heavy artillery. The retired senior private secretary to three Kedah mentris besar (MBs) told the media on Nov 3 that he has “been moving around the island and resolving many pending issues faced by the people”.

Another scorching contest is for P063 Tambun in Perak. The candidates are BN’s Datuk Aminuddin Md Hanafiah, PN’s Datuk Seri Ahmad Faizal Azumu, PH chairman Datuk Seri Anwar Ibrahim and Abdul Rahim Tahir from GTA.

Ahmad Faizal won the Tambun seat with a majority of 5,320 votes in GE14, but the former MB is expected to face a tough fight from Anwar, who is PH’s candidate for PM. This gives the PKR president a slight edge, plus the non-Malay voters are also expected to side with him. The Malay vote is seen to be split between BN, PN and PH.

The constituency consists of 67% Malay voters, 20% Chinese and 11% Indian, with other communities making up the balance.

One battle that will surely be watched by many is for P107 Sungai Buloh. Health Minister Khairy Jamaluddin, who formerly contested in Rembau but has been re-assigned for GE15, was expected to be the underdog against PKR’s R Sivarasa, who won the Sungai Buloh seat with a whopping 26,634 majority in 2018.

However, as of writing last Friday, Khairy is now tipped to be the favourite as PH decided to bench Sivarasa and replace him with PKR’s Datuk R Ramanan. Plus, the Malay votes account for more than 70%.

A Malay voter who declined to be named said: “It would certainly be an advantage to have the health minister be the MP as Sungai Buloh Hospital would benefit. We like Sivarasa, but he’s not contesting!”

There were rumours of PKR changing its candidate back to Sivarasa, but as of Nov 3, Selangor PH chairman Datuk Seri Amirudin Shari said the line-up remained status quo. The other contenders are PN’s Mohd Ghazali Md Hamin, Mohd Akmal Mohd Yusoff from GTA and Parti Rakyat Malaysia’s Ahmad Zuhri Faisal.

Talking about Amirudin, he is up for a tough fight for P098 Gombak against incumbent and former MB Datuk Seri Mohamed Azmin Ali from PN, who won in GE15 with a staggering 48,721 majority. The other contestants are BN’s Datuk Megat Zulkarnain Omardin and GTA’s Datuk Dr Aziz Jamaludin Mhd Tahir.

Other hot seats include P146 Muar, where former Youth and Sports Minister Syed Saddiq Abdul Rahman will be defending his seat amid an ongoing graft trial, and P170 Tuaran, where United Progressive Kinabalu Organisation (Upko) outgoing president Wilfred Madius Tangau will also be defending his seat. Tangau won in 2018 under BN, but left to join Warisan Plus and now will be contesting under an alliance with PH.

  • This article first appeared in The Malaysian Reserve weekly print edition