Analyst: Umno may struggle in Titiwangsa, Setiawangsa but…

Political analyst Kamarul Zaman Yusoff believes PKR and PPBM candidates may give Umno a run for its money in Titiwangsa and Setiawangsa. (Facebook pic)

PETALING JAYA: A political analyst predicts Umno will face a tough fight in the Titiwangsa and Setiawangsa parliamentary seats but may capture Lembah Pantai in the coming general election.

Kamarul Zaman Yusoff of Universiti Utara Malaysia said Titiwangsa incumbent Johari Abdul Ghani was an Umno heavyweight who should be able to retain the seat.

PPBM’s candidate Rina Harun, meanwhile, was a new face and might not be able to take on Johari, he said.

However, he added that there was some internal conflict within Umno over the seat.

“That is the only thing that might pull him down,” he said, adding that the internal conflict could favour PAS candidate Mohammad Noor Mohammad.

“Johari’s issue is the internal conflict in Umno. Other than that, he should win.”

As for Setiawangsa, he said, its incumbent Zulhasnan Rafique was well-known among voters but his opponent, PKR Youth chief Nik Nazmi Nik Ahmad, was also a popular figure.

“Both are quite open in their views and well-liked. Neither one has baggage. I am not sure if Nik Nazmi can win, but he will give Zulhasnan a tough fight.”

Although Setiawangsa is seen as an Umno stronghold, the party’s majority in the area has been declining over the years. Umno won the seat by 1,390 votes in the last general election, compared to over 8,000 in 2008.

Kamarul added that Lembah Pantai, which has been held by Nurul Izzah Anwar since 2013, might not be a safe seat for PKR anymore.

“It will be difficult for Pakatan Harapan (PH) to retain Lembah Pantai. The seat may go back to Umno.”

He said Nurul Izzah’s move from Lembah Pantai to Permatang Pauh showed she was aware that PKR might lose the seat.

Under the redelineation exercise approved in Parliament, Lembah Pantai will see the inclusion of 7,000 police voters from Bukit Aman.

Nurul Izzah won the Lembah Pantai seat in the last general election with a majority of some 1,000 votes. She will be replaced by PKR communications director Fahmi Fadzil, who faces Raja Nong Chik Raja Zainal Abidin (Barisan Nasional) and Fauzi Abu Bakar (PAS).

Kamarul acknowledged that Fahmi had been active in doing ground work, but said he could still face trouble as he was a new face.

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