PAS' Yuhaizad Abdullah and Umno's Roslan Ahmad will face off for the next seven days in Merlimau.
MERLIMAU: The Merlimau by-election will see a straight fight between Yuhaizad Abdullah (PAS) and Roslam Ahmad (Umno) after they have successfully filed their nominations at the Politeknik Merlimau here this morning.
Three objections were raised by PAS but were subsequently dismissed. At about 11.20am, both Yuhaizad and Roslan were declared the official candidates.
Newcomer Yuhaizad, 38, is the Malacca PAS Youth deputy chief as well as Jasin PAS division chief.
Meeting the press later, Yuhaizad merely smiled and was vague when answering questions on his campaign.
“I will provide more details at a later date but what I can promise now is that I will go down to the ground to meet everyone,” he said.
Roslan heads Perbadanan Melaka Holdings, a state corporation.
“I am confident of a win because of the support and cooperation of the BN machinery nationwide,” he said.
Roslan’s father, Ahmad Ithnin, was the former Sungai Rambai assemblyman . When asked whether this would boost his chances in Merlimau, he said, “I have my own set of capabilities but yes my father will add an advantage to my campaign.”
Among the notable faces in the PAS camp were PKR president Dr Wan Azizah Wan Ismail, Selangor Menteri Besar Khalid Ibrahim, Petaling Jaya Utara MP Tony Pua, PAS deputy president Nasaruddin Md Isa, Selangor exco Xavier Jeyakumar, Batu MP Tian Chua and PKR vice-president N Surendran.
Spotted in the BN camp were MIC president G Palanivel, Deputy Education Minister Wee Ka Siong, Defence Minister Zahid Hamidi and Perak Menteri Besar Zambry Kadir.
The Merlimau seat fell vacant following the death of Umno assemblyman Mohammad Hidhir Abu Hassan on Jan 20. Hidhir wrested the seat from PAS in 2008 with a majority of 2,154 votes. This by-election will be the 15th since the 2008 general election and the first in Malacca.
Malays form the majority of voters there and pundits say 80% are loyal Umno supporters. The Merlimau seat has been touted as an easy win in this BN stronghold but the ruling government is not letting its guard down.
“BN will have a better advantage,” said Zambry. “But we’ve learnt not to take anything for granted. The candidate must take it seriously to assure the voters of his capability.”
Palanivel took a bolder stand in declaring that the Indian community is safely in BN’s pocket.
“Seven of 10 Indians will vote BN,” he said confidently. “The other three won’t turn up. My target is to achieve a bigger majority than the 70% achieved in Tenang (Johor).”
The opposition, though well aware of the difficult road ahead, is determined to give BN a tough fight.
“Galas (Kelantan) and Tenang have not broken our spirit,” said Nasruddin. “Our candidate’s advantage is that he is a local and will be able carry out his duties easily here.”
“Besides, even (former prime minister) Dr Mahathir Mohamad has lost to PAS in Kedah before. So we will give it our best shot…”
Meanwhile, ousted former Perak menteri besar Nizar Jamaluddin shot down talk of PAS facing opposition among the non-Malays, saying his engagement with the Chinese voters yesterday assured him of their support for the opposition.
Pua said DAP would further strengthen this support by explaining how Pakatan’s policies are able to address their basic issues.
Besides the candidates and politicians, another “personality” was showered with attention by the media and supporters.
Kiki, a three-year-old male cat, was spotted lounging in the shade clad in BN “attire”.
“He is a staunch supporter,” his owner, Suraya Abdul Hakim, said proudly.