PETALING JAYA: Pokok Sena incumbent Mahfuz Omar has welcomed the challenge from PAS candidate and former national footballer Radhi Mat Din, but hopes the campaign will be conducted in a friendly atmosphere.
“In a democracy, his party has the right to offer a candidate for the voters to choose,” he said.
Mahfuz, who left the Islamist party on Dec 31 after 34 years, said all contestants should promote their policies and programmes for the people to make their choice.
“There should not be personal attacks or the use of race or religion to fish for votes,” he told FMT.
He added that the people in the constituency should not be left divided after the election results.
“The winner must represent the interest of all the constituents who are multiracial,” he said.
Mahfuz has been nominated by Amanah to contest Pokok Sena again in what will likely be a three-way fight as Barisan Nasional is also expected to field a candidate.
Mahfuz has been the MP for Pokok Sena since 1999, except between 2004 and 2008 when the BN candidate won.
The seat has 87,000 voters, with 80% Malays while the remainder are Chinese and Indians.
This is the maiden outing for 53-year-old Radhi, who is known among his fans as “Captain Marvel”.
He is not the first sports personality to contest in a general election.
In 1986, former national football captain Soh Chin Aun contested under the BN ticket against DAP’s Lim Guan Eng in the Kota Melaka parliamentary seat.
Lim, who is now Penang chief minister, beat Soh by 17,606 votes.
In 1995, another former national footballer, Jamal Nasir Ismail, contested under the BN banner and defeated Tengku Puji Abdul Hamid from PAS by 3,960 votes to become Beserah assemblyman in Pahang.
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