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Penang PKR may field many new faces

 | April 6, 2013

Only four incumbents are expected to be retained while two others are likely to be dropped.

PERMATANG PAUH: The bulk of the PKR candidates contesting in state constituencies in Penang are expected to be new faces.

Of the incumbents, only Abdul Malik Kassim (Batu Maung), Maktar Shapee (Sungai Bakap), Law Choo Kiang (Bukit Tambun) and Ong Chin Wen (Bukit Tengah) are expected to be retained.

Incumbent assemblymen Tan Hock Leong (Machang Bubok) and Jason Ong Khan Lee (Kebun Bunga) are set to be axed.

Tan, the State Legislative Assembly deputy speaker, is expected to be replaced by Lee Khan Loon while lawyer Cheah Kah Peng could replace Jason Ong.

Incumbent S Raveentharan is now involved in an intense battle with T Jayabalan, who is backed by certain PKR local chieftains, for Batu Uban.

Out-going Deputy Chief Minister (I) and PKR state chief Mansor Othman, who won Penanti in a 2009 by-election, will move up to the federal seat of Nibong Tebal this time.

Out-going Pantai Jerajak assemblyman Sim Tze Tzin will emulate him to contest the Bayan Baru parliamentary constituency.

Sim could be replaced by councillor in the island municipality (MPPP) Mohd Rashid Hasnon.

Under Pakatan Rakyat electoral formula, PKR will contest four parliamentary and 16 state seats in this island-state in the forthcoming general election.

In 2008, PKR won four parliamentary and nine state seats.

Heartland constituencies

PKR’s tough battles with Umno in the Malay heartland constituencies – Kepala Batas, Tasek Gelugor and Permatang Pauh, all on mainland, and Balik Pulau on the island – will be a decisive factor in ensuring Pakatan retains the state government.

PKR may field councillor from Seberang Perai municipality (MPSP) and party state information chief Johari Kassim in Bertam and Zakyuddin Abdul Rahman in Pinang Tunggal. Both seats are under Kepala Batas.

In Teluk Air Tawar, which comes under Tasek Gelugor, the party leadership has not decided between its state’s women chief Noor Hayati Jaafar and Youth leader Amir Ghazali.

In 2008 general election, Noor Hayati lost to Jahara Hamid from Umno.

PKR has also not decided on Seberang Jaya and Penanti under Permatang Pauh either.

Nonetheless, Dr Afifuddin Baharuddin, Nor Lela Ariffin, and former state Umno Youth chief Rahim Ghouse are in party list of potential candidates for the seats.

Currently, PKR and PAS are involved in a seat-swap for Sungai Acheh under Nibong Tebal and Bayan Lepas under Balik Pulau.

In 2008, PKR contested Sungai Acheh while PAS fought in Bayan Lepas.

But this time, PAS had requested for Sungai Acheh, claiming that it has a better chance to win. PKR leadership has asked PAS to let go Bayan Lepas.

For other two PKR state seats under Balik Pulau, State Legislative Assembly Speaker and division chief Abdul Halim Hussain is likely to re-contest Teluk Bahang, which he narrowly lost to Umno’s Dr Hilmi Yahya in 2008.

Division secretary Ahmad Tuah is expected to contest Pulau Betong against Barisan Nasional incumbent from Umno, Muhammad Farid Saad.

Last night, Anwar has announced his candidature for Permatang Pauh, Sim for Bayan Baru and Muhammad Bakhtiar Wan Chik for Balik Pulau.


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