PAS: Azmin not safe in Gombak, Mahathir more so

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GOMBAK: The director of PAS’ research centre says the party’s analysis has shown the Gombak parliamentary constituency to be an unsafe seat for PKR deputy president Azmin Ali to defend in the upcoming 14th general election (GE14).

Mohd Zuhdi Marzuki said it was even more risky for PPBM chairman Dr Mahathir Mohamad to contest there.

Azmin had yesterday expressed readiness to make way for the 92-year-old former prime minister to contest there on behalf of Pakatan Harapan (PH).

Zuhdi said the seat had become insecure for PKR after PAS decided to terminate its political cooperation with the party in April last year.

He said Azmin, who is Selangor menteri besar, would not be able to retain Gombak in the event there was a three-cornered fight there.

“I don’t know what Azmin’s hidden motive is in letting go of the Gombak seat. I can only say that the seat is not safe for PKR,” Zuhdi said.

He said having Mahathir run there would lead to his attempt to become prime minister ending in failure as he would not be able to win in the polls.

“I am confident that Dr Mahathir would be even more unsafe there because the Gombak voters are urban people who have gone through the ‘Reformasi’ (reformation) period against his rule.”

Zuhdi was referring to the reformation campaign, which started after Mahathir fired Anwar Ibrahim as deputy prime minister in 1998.

Anwar is now de facto head of PH, which consists of PKR, DAP, PPBM and Amanah, while Mahathir is its chairman.

He said Mahathir had better potential to win the Langkawi parliamentary seat in Kedah.

Zuhdi was speaking to reporters after a lecture by PAS president Abdul Hadi Awang at Kolej Universiti Islam Zulkifli Muhammad in Taman Melawar here today.

Azmin had said in a tweet yesterday that he was prepared to give way to Mahathir in Gombak if it was agreeable to PKR.

PAS, BN equally strong in Gombak

The Gombak constituency in Selangor is among the seats held by the opposition, with sizeable PAS and Barisan Nasional (BN) support.

Two of the three state seats within its margins were won by PAS over the last two terms.

In the general election of March 2008, Azmin defeated BN’s Said Anuar Said Ahmad by a margin of 6,867 votes. In the next election in May 2013, he shook off a challenge from BN’s Raman Ismail to retain it with a majority of 4,734 votes.

PKR was then an ally of PAS under the now- defunct Pakatan Rakyat pact.

PAS and BN are said to be almost equally influential in the Gombak Setia and Hulu Kelang state seats.

PAS’ Hasbullah Mohd Ridzwan successfully defended Gombak Setia by a margin of 1,681 votes in the last election, while its candidate, Saari Sungib, retained the Hulu Klang seat by 2,811 votes.

Saari has since quit PAS and joined its splinter party, Amanah.

Meanwhile, PKR’s Amirudin Shari maintained his hold on the Batu Caves state seat with a majority of 3,261 votes in 2013.

If the conflict between PAS and PH continues till GE14, which is due by August, the four seats in Gombak might see three-cornered fights, with PAS, PH and BN involved. BN is likely to benefit from the split in votes.

On Jan 7, PH had announced its seat allocation agreement for Peninsular Malaysia, with PPBM assigned 52 seats, PKR 51, DAP 35 and Amanah 27.

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