PETALING JAYA: Dr Mahathir Mohamad will be in Teluk Intan on April 16 to announce Pakatan Harapan’s candidate for that parliamentary seat, held at present by Gerakan president Mah Siew Keong.
It has been widely speculated that Perak DAP chief Nga Kor Ming will be fielded, in an attempt to topple the Gerakan president.
Nga is expected to move from his current base in Taiping as the DAP leadership shifts some of its top generals from their safe seats in a do-or-die battle.
However, Perak DAP adviser Ngeh Koo Ham refused to divulge the name of the candidate.
Ngeh, who is Beruas MP and Sitiawan assemblyman, told FMT: “Wait for Mahathir to announce the candidate’s name when he is in Teluk Intan.”
He said preparations were in hand for “a mammoth gathering of at least 10,000 people” from Teluk Intan and the neighbouring constituencies of Bagan Datok and Pasir Salak.
Hilir Perak police had tentatively approved the location, subject to the final go-ahead from the local authority, which owns the open space.
PH leaders, including DAP secretary-general Lim Guan and PKR president Dr Wan Azizah Wan Ismail, would also be present at the event.
Teluk Intan is expected to be one of the keenly followed battlegrounds in this general election, as in the past.
The town can be described as a politically “seismic zone” as there had been two events that rocked politics in the 1960s.
The first, in 1961, was a parliamentary by-election, in which the then Alliance was defeated by independent candidate Too Joo Hing, a former deputy education minister.
In 1969, the DAP caused an upset when bus driver Chan Fu King toppled the MCA incumbent and then health minister, Dr Ng Kam Poh.
Between 1974 and 1997, the seat was held by the Gerakan.
However, the DAP scored another major upset at a by-election in 1997 when M Kula Segaran won by 2,916 votes.
Mah of Gerakan took over in the 1999 and 2004 elections after Kula Segaran moved to Ipoh Barat.
But Mah failed to keep his seat in 2008 nor in 2013, losing to DAP on both occasions.
He succeeded on his third try, however, defeating DAP newcomer Dyana Sofya in a by-election in 2014, with a razor-thin majority of 238 votes. The by-election was called following the death of DAP’s Seah Leong Peng, who won the seat in 2013.
Political observers had at the time suggested that an Indian vote swing in favour of the Barisan Nasional (BN) as well as many Chinese not returning home to vote as major factors in the upset loss for the DAP.
However, some analysts said the party may have also lost due to the lack of support from within its own ranks over the party bringing in a candidate from outside Teluk Intan.