It’s a three-cornered contest in Pulai, Johor, with Pakatan Harapan incumbent Salahuddin Ayub going up against Johor BN deputy chief Nur Jazlan Mohamed for the third time.
Perikatan Nasional (PN) had previously announced carpet trader Deepak Jaikishan as its Pulai candidate but a last-minute withdrawal saw Tebrau Gerakan division chief Loh Kah Yong fielded in the seat.
In 2013, Nur Jazlan retained his seat for the third term in a straight fight against Salahuddin during the 13th general election.
Salahuddin, however, won Pulai in a four-cornered contest against Nur Jazlan, PAS, and an independent in GE14 that also saw Johor Harapan more than double its share of seats.
“We initially expected a five or six-cornered fight and there were names like Deepak initially speculated to contest here, but finally it’s a three-cornered race.
“I think the people in Pulai know us well. It is the third time I will be contesting against Nur Jazlan here,” Salahuddin told reporters after filing his nomination at the Dewan Jubli Intan Sultan Ibrahim, Johor Baru, today.
“So, we leave it to the people to judge,” he added.
Commenting on his comeback, Nur Jazlan said he abided by BN’s decision for him to recontest the seat, despite previously stating his disinterest.
He noted the political situation today appears less heated than in 2018, which eventually saw BN losing federal power for the first time in history.
“In my prediction, this would be an advantage to BN,” said Nur Jazlan.
Asked for comments on Deepak’s withdrawal, Nur Jazlan said both he and Salahuddin are serious candidates looking to serve Pulai voters.
“This is not a joke election. So, when Deepak decided to not stand in Pulai, I welcome his decision,” he added.
As nominations closed at 10am, Deepak told Malaysiakini he had filed his candidacy as an independent in Klang, Selangor.
Salahuddin and Nur Jazlan were seen hugging each other on stage shortly after they were officially announced as candidates by Election Commission returning officer Miswan Yunus.
Meanwhile, Loh said he was only informed of his candidacy to replace Deepak two days ago.
“There are no problems for me despite not being the initial candidate.
“I was quite surprised, but whatever it is I’m ready,” he added.
Loh contested and lost in Puteri Wangsa during the last Johor state election.
Supporters for all three candidates earlier gathered around the nomination centre despite overnight rain.
Nur Jazlan and BN mobilised the largest group of some 100 supporters, followed by Salahuddin and Harapan.
PN supporters comprising Gerakan, Bersatu and PAS members were heard joking that they should stand apart to make them appear as a larger group in photographs. – Malaysiakini