GEORGE TOWN: A Penang PKR leader said the party is confident of winning back the Nibong Tebal parliamentary seat from Bersatu in the Nov 19 general election.
The party’s state deputy chairman Bakhtiar Wan Chik claimed former MP Mansor Othman did not have the grassroots support to help him retain the seat.
The three-term MP, who was previously with PKR, defected to Bersatu in 2020.
Apart from Mansor, other Penang PKR representatives who defected to Bersatu were Sungai Acheh assemblyman Zulkifli Ibrahim and Seberang Jaya assemblyman Dr Afif Bahardin.
Sungai Acheh is one of the state seats within Nibong Tebal.
“The ‘frogs’ are not as strong as when they were in PKR as that strength came from the party’s grassroots,” Bakthiar told FMT, in reference to party-hoppers.
He also said PKR would not have a problem in winning back the seat as it had been an opposition stronghold since 1999. The opposition only lost the seat once to Barisan Nasional, in the 2004 election.
PKR has named former Dewan Negara senator Fadhlina Sidek as its candidate for the seat.
Despite being a “newbie” she is doing well, according to Bakthiar.
“She has gotten a lot of support from (Penang PKR) divisions and from Wanita PKR as well.”
Apart from Nibong Tebal, PKR is also contesting in Bayan Baru, Permatang Pauh and Balik Pulau, with Sim Tze Tzin, Nurul Izzah Anwar and Bakhtiar himself entrusted to defend the seats respectively.
Retaining Balik Pulau challenging for PKR
Bakhtiar conceded it would be challenging to retain Balik Pulau, which he described as the toughest of the four seats to defend.
Balik Pulau is a swing seat, with both Umno and PKR having represented it since 2008.
However, he was confident of retaining the seat as he and PKR had served the constituents well over the last four and a half years by improving the infrastructure in the constituency and tending to the constituents’ educational needs.
On whether a resurgent Umno post-Melaka and Johor state election victories would pose a challenge to PKR in Balik Pulau, he said the Malay party had not been doing much in the constituency.
“They (Umno) have been doing programmes for the last few days as the election is nearing. But before that they were nowhere to be seen.
“On the other hand PKR has been serving its constituents well in Balik Pulau.”