Aug 17, 09
The Permatang Pasir state by-election will see a straight fight between PAS state commissioner Mohd Salleh Man, 55, and young turk Rohaizat Othman, 38, of Umno.
Announcing the candidates at the close of the nomination period at 11.30am, Election Commission returning officer Roslan Yahaya said there were 15 objections against the nominees, which were all rejected.
Although independent hopeful, Parti Iman Semalaysia leader Kamarul Ramizu, announced his intention to join the fray a few days ago, he did not file his nomination papers today. However, he appeared at the nomination centre with his aides.
After Yahaya’s announcement, the focus immediately shifted to Rohaizat’s status as a qualified lawyer given that the Bar Council had struck off his practicising certificate in March last year due to misconduct.
PKR’s Machang parliamentarian Saifuddin Nasution said if it is true that Bar Council had struck off Rohaizat due to misappropriation of clients’ funds, he should explain himself.
Saifuddin asked whether Rohaizat could guarantee that similar incidents would not occur when handling the people’s money, if he were elected.
“Can he assure the people of Permatang Pasir, given that he will deal with large sums of constituency funds?”
Rohaizat has said that this is “non issue”.
Barisan Nasional deputy chairperson and Umno deputy president Muhyiddin Yassin explained the coalition had done a thorough check into Rohaizat’s case and found that the issue is not as controversial as claimed by Pakatan Rakyat.
However, he said he was certain that Pakatan would carry out a campaign based on character assassination of Rohaizat.
“But we are prepared for it. We have our own ways to counter the allegations,” he told reporters after the nomination.
He said Rohaizat was chosen to offer a youthful and dynamic alternative to the people of Permatang Pasir.
“We can win if we explore the right strategies,” said Muhyiddin, who is also deputy prime minister.
Permatang Pasir will be the third by-election within a year in the Permatang Pauh parliament seat, held by PKR supremo Anwar Ibrahim.
The by-election is the eighth since the last general election. Pakatan has won six while BN took the Batang Ai state seat in Sarawak.
The Permatang Pasir seat in Penang fell vacant when three-term PAS assemblyperson Mohd Hamdan Abdul Rahman died of an illness on July 31.
Permatang Pasir has been the sole PAS seat in Penang since 1999.
In 2008, Hamdan won it with a majority of 5,433 votes last year, beating Umno’s Ahmad Sahar Shuib.
In the 2008 general election, PAS won in all nine polling stations in the constituency comprising Sama Gagah, Permatang Ara, Permatang Pauh, Bukit Indera Muda, Kampung Pelet, Kubang Semang, Tanah Liat, Cross Street and Permatang Tengah.
Of the constituency’s 39 streams, PAS only lost in two – Permatang Ara by seven votes and Bukit Indera Muda by 15 votes.
The constituency has 20,290 voters and one postal vote, with 72.36 percent of the electorate being Malays, 25.85 percent Chinese, 1.63 percent Indians and 0.16 percent others. It has 300 new voters.
A graduate of Universiti Malaya, Mohd Salleh is self employed, previously having worked as a private school manager, a mosque official and an independent religious preacher.
Rohaizat indicated that his campaign theme would be to bring Permatang Pasir into the mainstream of the development programme.
PAS president Abdul Hadi Awang said Mohd Salleh was chosen because of his religious background, virtues and academic qualifications.
He said Pakatan component parties are firmly united and would work hard to ensure Mohd Salleh’s victory.
Other Pakatan leaders such as Anwar, DAP’s Lim Guan Eng, PAS’ Mahfuz Omar have said Pakatan would mobilise its leaders and supporters to ensure Mohd Salleh’s victory.
Referring to the Manek Urai by-election, in which PAS retained the seat with a razor thin 65-vote majority, Mahfuz said Mohd Salleh could win the contest albeit by a smaller majority.
“Based on the Manek Urai results, I would rather safely predict a lower victory margin for PAS candidate,” he said.
PKR parliamentarian Yusmadi Yusoff said young voters – comprising 40 percent of the electorate – hold the key to a Pakatan victory.
“We will work hard to ensure every youth vote is cast to PAS,” he assured.