The road to Putrajaya begins

• Intense competition across all Parliamentary constituencies with at least 3- or 4-cornered fights

• Parliament Batu and Ampang among the most congested with 10 and 9 candidates respectively

THE 15th General Election (GE15) process is officially underway with the nomination of candidates at 222 nomination centres nationwide on Nov 5.

Also kicked off over the weekend is the by-election process for the Bugaya state seat in Sabah which could not be held earlier following the proclamation of emergency due to Covid-19 pandemic.

Apart from the 222 parliamentary seats, the election for 116 state seats in Perak (59), Pahang (42) and Perlis (15) would also be held simultaneously after the state assemblies were dissolved following the dissolution of the 14th Parliament on Oct 10.

The Opposition-led states of Penang, Negri Sembilan and Selangor, as well as states led by PAS — Terengganu, Kelantan and Kedah — have opted against holding their state elections simultaneously with the federal seats.

Four other states have had their state polls over the last two years, with Sabah having its election on Sept 26, 2020, Melaka (Nov 20, 2021), Sarawak (Dec 18, 2021) and Johor (March 12, 2022).

Before the dissolution of the Parliament, the composition of seats in the Dewan Rakyat saw Pakatan Harapan (PH) held 90 seats, followed by Barisan Nasional (BN) (43), Parti Pribumi Bersatu Malaysia (28), Gabungan Parti Sarawak (GPS) (19), PAS (17), Parti Warisan (seven), Parti Bangsa Malaysia (PBM) (six), Parti Pejuang Tanah Air (four), Independent (three) and one seat each for the Malaysia United Democratic Alliance (Muda), Parti Sarawak Bersatu and Sabah STAR.

Two seats remain vacant following the death of the incumbents, Datuk Hasbullah Osman (BN-Gerik) and Datuk Liew Vui Keong (Warisan-Batu Sapi).

The electoral rolls to be used for GE15, the state polls and the Bugaya by-election is the latest August 2022 Supplementary Electoral Roll1 as updated on Oct 9, 2022, with over 21.2 million voters. Of the total, 20.9 million are ordinary voters, 146,737 army personnel and their spouses, 118,794 police personnel, including from the General Operations Force and their spouses, and 2,741 are absentee voters who are currently abroad.

Most of the seats are having at least three- to four-cornered fights due to the emergence of various political coalitions over the last two years.

Battle of Hot Seats in GE15

Among the hotly contested seats in the central region is Gombak where the incumbent, former PKR deputy president Datuk Seri Mohamed Azmin Ali is hoping to retain the seat for a fourth term. Mohamed Azmin — now with Bersatu — is in a five-way contest for the Gombak seat which included his former PKR colleague and current Selangor Mentri Besar (MB) Datuk Seri Amirudin Shari, BN’s Datuk Megat Zulkarnain Omardin, Pejuang’s Datuk Dr Aziz Jamaludin Mhd Tahir and independent candidate Zulkifli Ahmad. In GE14, Mohamed Azmin won the seat under PH ticket with a majority of 48,721 votes.

In Pandan, former MP Mohd Rafizi Ramli is making a political comeback after a few years of hiatus. The PKR deputy president is locking horns with four other candidates including former MCA president Tan Sri Ong Tee Keat of Warisan, Muhammad Farique Zubir Albakri (PAS), Nadia Hanafiah (Pejuang) and Datuk Leong Kok Wee (BN). During the last election, PKR advisory chairman Datuk Seri Dr Wan Azizah Wan Ismail won the seat by 52,543 majority votes.

For the current election, Dr Wan Azizah is contesting at the Bandar Tun Razak parliamentary seat in a three-cornered fight against its incumbent Datuk Kamarudin Jaffar (Bersatu) and BN’s Bandar Tun Razak MCA chief Datuk Chew Yin Keen. In the last GE, Kamarudin had won the seat under PKR ticket with a majority of 19,930 votes.

For the Kuala Selangor parliamentary seat, incumbent Datuk Seri Dr Dzulkefly Ahmad is looking to retain the seat as he goes up against BN’s heavy weight candidate and former Finance Minister Tengku Datuk Seri Zafrul Tengku Abdul Aziz, Pejuang’s Mohd Shaid Rosli and PAS’ Mohd Noor Mohd Sahar. In the last parliamentary term, Dr Dzulkefly managed to win the seat with 8,498 majority votes.

Meanwhile in Wilayah Persekutuan, former Titiwangsa MP Datuk Seri Johari Abdul Ghani from BN is locked in a four-cornered fight for the parliamentary seat where he is going up against Amanah communication director Khalid Abd Samad, Pejuang’s Datuk Seri Khairuddin Abu Hassan and PAS’ Dr Rosni Adam.

The incumbent Titiwangsa MP Datuk Seri Rina Mohd Harun, who won the seat with 4,139 majority votes in GE14, is now going for the Sepang parliamentary seat which is looking at an eight-cornered fight.

In the meantime, the Batu parliamentary seat is set for a showdown of heavyweights as there will be a historic 10-cornered fight pitting former Batu MP Chua Tian Chang against incumbent P Prabakaran and well-known activist Siti Kasim. Others that are contesting for the constituency include Pejuang’s candidate Wan Azliana Wan Adnan, PAS’ Azhar Yahya, Warisan’s Naganathan Pillai, BN’s A Kohilan Pillay and independent candidates Zulkifli Fattah, Too Gao Lana and Nur Fathiah Syazwana @ Cleo.

Tian Chua was nominated as an independent candidate and is expected to be sacked by PKR for going against party wishes.

Meanwhile, former PKR VP Datuk Zuraida Kamaruddin is also in a tough fight as she is locked in a nine-cornered fight in her quest to defend the Ampang parliamentary seat that she first won in GE12. The former Plantation Industries and Commodities minister, contesting this time around under the PBM ticket, will be going up against two-term Selangor executive councillor Rodziah Ismail from PKR, Ivone Low Yi Wen (BN), Dr Nurul Ashikin Mabahwi (Pejuang), Sasha Lyna Abdul Latif (Bersatu), Lai Wai Chong (Warisan) and three other independent candidates M Raveendran, Muhammad Shafiq Izwan Mohd Yunos and Tan Hua Meng.

Battle Of the Titans

One of the most keenly followed constituents in Klang Valley is Sungai Buloh where former Health Minister Khairy Jamaluddin is ready for the toughest in his political career — facing a seven-cornered battle. The former Rembau MP is facing off against Datuk R Ramanan who is set to help PKR retain the seat. Other candidates in the fray include Mohd Akmal Mohd Yusoff (Pejuang), Mohd Ghazali Md Hamin (PAS), Ahmad Jufliz Faiza (Parti Rakyat Malaysia) and independent candidates Nurhaslida Basri and Syed Abdul Razak Syed Long Alsagoff.

In Perak, there will be a four-cornered clash for the Tambun parliamentary seat as its incumbent MP Datuk Seri Ahmad Faizal Azumu of Bersatu is facing off against PH chairman Datuk Seri Anwar Ibrahim, Umno division chief Datuk Aminuddin Md Hanafiah of BN and Abdul Rahim Tahir (Pejuang). In the last election, former Perak MB Ahmad Faizal — who contested under PH ticket — polled 38,661 votes to beat two other candidates from BN and PAS to win with a majority of 5,320 votes.

For the Rembau parliamentary seat, former Negri Sembilan MB Datuk Seri Mohamad Hasan is in a five-cornered fight in his quest to capture the seat. BN’s deputy chairman — who is fondly known as Tok Mat — is going up against Jufitri Joha (PH), Mohd Nazree Mohd Yunus (Bersatu), S Tinagaran (Parti Sosialis Malaysia) and Ramly Awalluddin (Pejuang). He is hoping that voters will give a fair assessment to all the parties and coalitions that had been part of the government in the last four years and make a sound judgment on who should be given the mandate to form the next government after polling day on Nov 19.

In the northern region, two-time Prime Minister (PM) Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad will be defend ing his Langkawi parliamentary seat that he won in the last GE. He will be squaring off against Datuk Armishah Siraj (BN), Zabidi Yahya (PH), Datuk Mohd Suhaimi Abdullah (Bersatu) and independent candidate Datuk Abd Kadir Sainudin. During the last parliamentary term, Dr Mahathir won the seat with a majority of 8,893 votes.

As for former Federal Territories Minister Datuk Seri Dr Shahidan Kassim, he is facing challengers from BN and PH in his quest to defend the Arau parliamentary seat in Perlis on a Perikatan Nasional (PN) ticket for this GE. He will be going up against BN’s Datuk Rozabil Abd Rahman and PH’s Fathin Amelina Fazlie. In GE14, Shahidan won the parliamentary seat under Umno ticket with 4,856 majority votes.

In the southern region, former PM Tan Sri Muhyiddin Yassin is facing a three-cornered fight in his bid to retain the Pagoh seat for a sixth term. The PN chairman and Bersatu president are challenged by Umno Supreme Council member Datuk Seri Razali Ibrahim and Iskandar Shah Abd Rahman (PH) for the seat. In GE14, Muhyiddin managed to retain the seat with a majority of 6,927 votes.

As for the Muar parliamentary seat, incumbent MP Syed Saddiq Syed Abdul Rahman is also facing a three-cornered fight for the seat as he is challenged by Mohd Helmy Abd Latif from BN and Abdullah Husin from PAS. In the last election, the Muda president won the seat with 6,953 majority votes.

The Election Commission (EC) has set Nov 19 for polling and Nov 15 for early voting. The campaign period is set for 14 days, starting after the announcement of candidates contesting in the polls until 11.59pm on Nov 18. — TMR / pic TMR File

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