The run up to the 15th general election (GE15) got off to a very dramatic start with anger and dissatisfaction marring political parties’ candidate selection.
In recent days, attention has been focused on how the Opposition would re-strategise and allocate its members, especially after the notorious ‘Sheraton Move’ which saw the 22-month-old Pakatan Harapan (PH) administration toppled, and with the passing of the Anti-Party Hopping Bill to prevent defections.
PKR announced on Friday that it was fielding 72 parliamentary candidates in the peninsula. Twenty-one former PKR members of parliament would defend seats.
Party president Datuk Seri Anwar, who would be contesting in Tambun, admitted that it had been a tough decision to drop several MPs, who have been close friends for decades, from the party’s line-up of candidates. He stressed, however, that this had to be done for the good of the party and the future of the country.
Besides Anwar, party advisory council chairman Datuk Seri Dr Wan Azizah Wan Ismail was switched from Pandan to Bandar Tun Razak.
Former PKR information chief Datuk Seri Shamsul Iskandar Mohd Akin, who is the former Hang Tuah Jaya MP, will contest in Bagan Datuk, which is held by Barisan Nasional chairman Datuk Seri Dr Ahmad Zahid Hamidi.
PKR election director and deputy president Rafizi Ramli is seeking to return to Pandan, a seat he held from 2013 to 2018.
In a surprise move, incumbent PKR MPs Maria Chin Abdullah (Petaling Jaya), Datuk Johari Abdul (Sungai Petani), June Leow (Hulu Selangor), Chan Ming Kai (Alor Setar) and Natrah Ismail (Sekinjang) and were dropped from contesting in GE15.
R Sivarasa (Sungai Buloh) will be replaced with a relatively new PKR leader, Datuk R Ramanan — formerly from the MIC.
Ramanan is the grandson of Tan Sri Devaki Ayathurai Krishnan, the first woman to be elected to public office before Malaysia attained independence. Devaki had at that time contested under the Independence of Malaya Party (IMP) when she was elected for the Bangsar municipal council seat in 1952 and later retained the seat in 1955.
Four of those who were dropped – Johari, Leow, Chan and Sivarasa – were notably unsuccessful in their respective bids for a position on the party’s central leadership when elections were held earlier this year.
Chan and Chin stayed out of the party election at the division level altogether, with the latter having no obvious clout within the party.
It is understood that Datin Paduka Tan Yew Kew (Wangsa Maju) and former deputy health minister Dr Lee Boon Chye (Gopeng), aged 69 and 63, respectively, had already informed the party of their plan to retire after their current term.
Fahmi Fadzil will defend his Lembah Pantai seat while Rodziah Ismail will contest in Ampang.
In Selangor, William Leong will defend his Selayang seat and Wong Chen will defend his Subang seat.
In Negri Sembilan, its caretaker Mentri Besar Datuk Seri Aminuddin Harun will contest Port Dickson and Jufitri Joha will contest in Rembau.
For Johor, former Education Minister Dr Maszlee Malik will defend Simpang Renggam, Hassan Karim will defend the Pasir Gudang seat, Syed Ibrahim Syed Noh will defend Ledang and Akmal Nasir will defend Johor Baru.
Anwar said new faces, including those from the younger generation, should be given opportunities to contest as well.
He was responding to the remarks by former PKR vice-president, Chua Tian Chang, who is better known as Tian Chua, that the act of dropping some incumbents could be detrimental to the party.
“I would like to emphasise to Tian Chua that we still need the support of these senior politicians to continue guiding youths in the party.
“I met with him (Tian Chua) for a while and listened to his views yesterday. As I mentioned in my speech, not all (incumbent) MPs can be maintained.
Tian Chua had reportedly said there were many party members who were disappointed with the candidate list that was announced.
He also rubbished talk that some incumbents and hopefuls were dropped from the PKR candidate list due to being “pro-Azmin Ali”.
He “categorically denied” that he and some incumbents such as Chin were dropped because of a purported faction aligned to former PKR number two Azmin Ali.
Branding the pro-Azmin narrative as media speculation, Chua said those who are deemed as Azmin’s allies have left the party with him.
“I am not pro-Azmin, if I was, I would have gone with Azmin already.
“Maria Chin is not pro-Azmin, she is a Bersih person,” he added.
Chua had previously expressed interest that he wanted to contest in the Batu seat, for which he was a former MP. However, Batu incumbent P Prabakaran was selected to defend the seat in GE15.
Earlier, Anwar vowed that he will not be taking his salary as prime minister should PH win the 15th general election.
He said he would also reduce the salary of his cabinet members and promised to downsize the number of ministers and their deputies.
“Should I become the prime minister, I would not take the salary as a PM. Salary as a lawmaker is sufficient enough.
“I will also reduce the salary of my ministers and deputy ministers. The number of my cabinet members will not be as big as we have now.”
“There are so many advisors with big salaries. Aren’t they all ashamed? Claiming to work for the people but have the audacity to take up large salaries when the people are struggling to live.”
“I was offered a big salary with a ministerial post as the opposition leader but I told Ismail Sabri Yaakob I cannot accept that,” he said.
Meanwhile, Rafizi criticised former Machap Jaya state assemblyperson Ginie Lim for insisting on being fielded for the Alor Gajah parliamentary seat.
“Lim wants to contest in Alor Gajah which has never been a PKR seat,” Rafizi said, adding that there have been grumblings from Lim’s camp on the matter.
“I think it’s counter-productive and crosses party discipline. It’s one thing if you want a PKR seat but she wants a non-PKR seat and making noise because she thought that I didn’t get a seat for her.
“That is a bit ridiculous,” he said.
In 2018, the Alor Gajah seat was contested by Bersatu, as a component party of Pakatan Harapan. It was won by incumbent MP Mohd Redzuan Md Yusof.
Alor Gajah was a BN stronghold in Malacca for 44 years until Harapan seized it in 2018.
As of now, it is unclear which Harapan component party would be contesting the seat.
When asked if Lim will be referred to the party’s disciplinary board, Rafizi said the party will manage it internally and wished to focus on the general election instead.
Lim had in recent years raised the ire of the PKR central leadership.
In 2019, Lim and Muhammad Jailani Khamis (Rembia) caused the nomination of Malacca PKR chief Halim Bachik as a senator to the Dewan Negara to be defeated.
Each state can nominate two senators to the Dewan Negara, which they must vote on in their respective state assemblies.
Prior to the vote taking place in the Malacca state assembly, Lim and Jailani left the House, causing Harapan to fall short of a majority to approve the nomination.
Anwar had described the move as “unacceptable” and summoned them for a discussion.
Jailani later helped bring down the Harapan government to form the new Umno-Bersatu administration.
He would later win the Rembia state seat under Umno’s banner, having previously won the seat under PKR.
However, Lim stuck with Harapan but was sidelined from then on.
The full list of PKR candidates:
Johor P140 Segamat – Yuneswaran Ramaraj
Johor P141 Sekijang – Dr Zaliha Mustapha
Johor P143 Pagoh – Iskandar Shah Abd Rahman
Johor P144 Ledang – Syed Ibrahim Syed Noh
Johor P150 Batu Pahat – Onn Abu Bakar
Johor P151 Simpang Renggam – Maszlee Malek
Johor P155 Tenggara – Zuraidah Zainab Mohd Zain
Johor P158 Tebrau – Jimmy Puah
Johor P159 Pasir Gudang – Hassan Karim
Johor P160 Johor Bahru – Akmal Nasrullah Mohd Nasir
Johor P164 Pontian – Mohd Sayfaul Ariffin Abdul Karim
Melaka P136 Tangga Batu – Rusnah Aluai
Melaka P137 Hang Tuah Jaya – Adam Adli Abd Halim
Negeri Sembilan P129 Kuala Pilah – Ustaz Noor Azman
Negeri Sembilan P131 Rembau – Jufitri Joha
Negeri Sembilan P132 Port Dickson – Aminuddin Harun
Selangor P093 Sungai Besar – Saipolyazan Mat Yusop
Selangor P094 Hulu Selangor – Dr Sathia Prakash Nadarajan
Selangor P097 Selayang – William Leong
Selangor P098 Gombak – Amirudin Shari
Selangor P099 Ampang – Rodziah Ismail
Selangor P100 Pandan – Rafizi Ramli
Selangor P104 Subang – Wong Chen
Selangor P105 Petaling Jaya – Lee Chean Chung
Selangor P107 Sungai Buloh – Ramanan Ramakrishnan
Selangor P109 Kapar – Abdullah Sani Abdul Hamid
Selangor P112 Kuala Langat – G Manivannan
Wilayah Persekutuan P115 Batu – P Prabakaran
Wilayah Persekutuan P116 Wangsa Maju – Zahir Hassan
Wilayah Persekutuan P118 Setiawangsa – Nik Nazmi Nik Ahmad
Wilayah Persekutuan P121 Lembah Pantai – Ahmad Fahmi Mohamed Fadzil
Wilayah Persekutuan P124 Bandar Tun Razak – Dr Wan Azizah Wan Ismail
Wilayah Persekutuan P125 Putrajaya – Dr Noraishah Mydin Abdul Aziz
Perak P055 Lenggong – Jurey Latiff Mohd Rosli
Perak P058 Bagan Serai – Siti Aishah Shaik Ismail
Perak P061 Padang Rengas – Muhammad Kamil Abdul Munim
Perak P063 Tambun – Anwar Ibrahim
Perak P071 Gopeng – Tan Kar Hing
Perak P073 Pasir Salak – Nik Omar Nik Abdul Aziz
Perak P075 Bagan Datuk – Shamsul Iskandar @ Yusre Mohd Akin
Perak P077 Tanjong Malim – Chang Lih Kang
Pulau Pinang P044 Permatang Pauh – Nurul Izzah Anwar
Pulau Pinang P047 Nibong Tebal – Fadhlina Sidek
Pulau Pinang P052 Bayan Baru – Sim Tze Tzin
Pulau Pinang P053 Balik Pulau – Mohamad Bakhtiar Wan Chik
Kedah P005 Jerlun – Mohamed Fadzil Mohd Ali
Kedah P006 Kubang Pasu – Mohd Aizuddin Ariffin
Kedah P009 Alor Setar – Simon Ooi
Kedah P010 Kuala Kedah – Azman Ismail
Kedah P011 Pendang – Zulkifly Mohamad
Kedah P014 Merbok – Nor Azrina Surip
Kedah P015 Sungai Petani – Mohammed Taufiq Johari
Kedah P017 Padang Serai – M Karupaiya
Kedah P018 Kulim Bandar Baharu – Saifuddin Nasution Ismail
Perlis P003 Arau – Fathin Amelina Fazlie
Perlis P002 Kangar – Noor Amin Ahmad
Kelantan P022 Pasir Mas – Husam Musa
Kelantan P025 Bachok – Nor Azmiza Mamat
Kelantan P026 Ketereh – Rahimi L Muhamud
Kelantan P027 Tanah Merah – Mohamad Suparadi Md Noor
Kelantan P029 Machang – Dr Rosli Allani Abdull Kadir
Kelantan P032 Gua Musang – Asharun Uji
Terengganu P034 Setiu – Mohamad Ngah
Terengganu P038 Hulu Terengganu – Alias Ismail
Terengganu P039 Dungun – Mohasdjone @ Mohd Johari Mohamad
Terengganu P040 Kemaman – Hasuni Sudin
Pahang P081 Jerantut – Dr Hassan Basri Awang Mat Dahan
Pahang P082 Indera Mahkota – Zuraidi Ismail
Pahang P083 Kuantan – Fuziah Salleh
Pahang P085 Pekan – Mohd Naim Zainal Abidin
Pahang P090 Bera – Abas Awang
Pahang P091 Rompin – Erman Shah Jaios
Trouble has also been brewing in the DAP, after the party dropped one of its recognisable heavyweights, incumbent Klang MP, Charles Santiago who has been enjoying a comfortable win in the area, owing to strong support from electorates.
Bentong’s incumbent, Wong Tack was also dropped, while two-time Batu Kawan incumbent, Kasthuriraani Patto had announced that she was stepping down.
Young Syefura Othman who is the incumbent for the Ketari state seat, will be contesting in Bentong while Wong has vowed to contest for the seat as an independent.
Though Kasthuri had voluntarily pulled out from re-contesting and pledged to help any candidate picked to replace her, it was reported that her move was after years of alleged pressure from a long-time party senior and ex-MP and his loyalists, purportedly gunning for the Batu Kawan parliament seat.
Two iconic Amanah leaders, Nik Omar and Husam Musa were announced as PKR’s candidates.
Husam, who is Amanah’s former vice-president, will contest in Pasir Mas, while Nik Omar who is the son of the late PAS spiritual leader and former Kelantan mentri besar Datuk Seri Nik Aziz Nik Mat will be contesting in Pasir Salak, Perak.
Husam had remained an Amanah member but with his PKR candidacy, questions abound about his party membership.
Nik Omar, who stood as Amanah’s candidate in the last general election, kept mum about his party membership when asked by reporters.
According to Anwar, the inclusion of non-PKR leaders such as Husam and Nik Omar in the party’s quota of candidates was a “non-issue” as they were still PH candidates.
“He (Nik Omar) felt that it was not suitable for him (to contest) in Kelantan, so we made way in Pasir Salak because we feel his personality can help him win.
“Husam, meanwhile, is Tuan Guru Nik Aziz’s close friend and student, so he is placed in Pasir Mas,” he said.
Parti Bangsa Malaysia (PBM) seems to have difficulties knowing who its party president is.
Julau incumbent and PKR defector Datuk Larry Sng insisted last week, that he was still the legit president and the only one authorised to sign the credentials for its candidates to contest in GE15.
His statement comes after PBM previously said that Datuk Zuraida Kamaruddin has replaced him.
PBM’s leadership crisis took a deeper turn after Sng abruptly suspended Zuraida and 12 other leaders from their positions on the party’s supreme council, which Sng said was done in accordance with PBM’s constitution.
Those suspended are; Haniza Mohamad Taha, Dr Daroyah Alwi, Rahimah Majid, Dr Sathiskumar Govindaraju, Muhammad Saiful Bahari Sahari, Na’im Brundage, Abdul Aziz Abdul Kadir, Zakaria Abdul Rahim, Muniraa Abu Bakar, Datuk Chua Lian Chye, Datuk Roger Tan Seng Huat and Albakri Salim.