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Tuesday, September 15, 2009

> Get set for a Pakatan surprise in Bagan Pinang


by Rahmah Ghazali

The Bagan Pinang Umno stronghold holds no fear for Opposition Leader Anwar Ibrahim as he believes that Pakatan Rakyat will emerge triumphant in that state constituency's upcoming by-election.

"God willing, with the people's support, we will pull a surprise," said Anwar from his PKR headquarters in Tropicana, Damansara after chairing a Pakatan leadership council meeting today.

Expressing his concern over the Election Commission's selection of dates, he lamented that on seats considered a Barisan Nasional stronghold, polls would be held over the weekend.

"And on seats within our stronghold, polls would be held during the weekdays," said Anwar (left), who is PKR de-facto leader.

EC chief Abdul Aziz Yusof had this morning announced that Oct 3 (Saturday) has been picked for nominations with Oct 11 (Sunday) set for the polls.

Anwar also said that PKR and DAP will provide a strong support for the PAS candidate throughout the by-election campaign period.

This is the ninth by-election since the 12th general election in March last year.

The seat fell vacant following the death of incumbent BN assemblyperson Azman Mohammad Noor, on Sept 4, from blood infection.

In the general election in March 2008, Azman defeated PAS' Ramli Ismail with a majority of 2,333 votes. He polled 6,430 votes against Ramli's 4,097.

Kit Siang: It is an uphill battle

Describing the fight against arch-rivals BN as an "uphill battle", DAP supremo Lim Kit Siang however said it is up to the voters to "demonstrate their desire for change in this sea of by-elections".

Meanwhile, PAS secretary-general Mustafa Ali admitted that Pakatan, and PAS especially will face a "quite different situation" this time around as Bagan Pinang constituency has a huge number of postal voters.

"Although it is usual for the postal votes to be in favour of BN, we hope they would use their intelligence by voting for Pakatan, allowing us the opportunity to prove our ability," said Mustapha.

There are 13,664 voters in Bagan Pinang, of which 9,060 are ordinary voters with the remainder of 4,604 being postal voters. The postal voters large number is due to the several army camps located in the constituency.

PKR man to stand as independent

Meanwhile, several hours after Pakatan leaders spoke about springing a surprise in Bagan Pinang, a local level PKR leader threw his name to the hat as a potential independent candidate.

Kota Lukut PKR division committee member Shahrudin Abdul Hamid today said he was going to contest for the state seat, providing for a potential three-cornered fight between himself as an independent, BN and PAS.

Shahrudin, 52, a former aide to PKR's Teluk Kemang MP Kamarul Baharin, said he wanted to contest to promote the tourism industry in Port Dickson.

"Here tourism is important. I want to play my role in uplifting the facilities here. Presently I don't see anyone doing that," he told Malaysiakini today.

The former Umno man is involved in events management - Malaysiakini.