PKR and PAS will face off in Sungai Bakap

Butterworth: Almost ten months after the August state elections, a rematch between PKR PAS is expected in Sungai Bakap in the upcoming bye-election.

The last elections were held simultaneously in six states, and the PAS leader Nor Zamri Latiff won by 1,563 votes after receiving 15,433 ballots.

After its impressive victories in the 15th General Elections in November 2022, PAS’s “green tsunami” continued to roll. The Islamist Party also gained ground in PKR territory in Penang. This included Sungai Bakap – one of three state seats in the Nibong Tebal parliamentary district.

Pakatan Harapan, in anticipation of the upcoming battle that will be triggered by the death of Nor Zamri, is counting on the grassroots to help PKR retake its seat in this Malay-dominated region.

An insider in the party has revealed that Dr Joohari Arifin, 60, a former teacher, is the frontrunner for the contest.

“Joohari has a high reputation not only in Sungai Bakap, but also in Nibong Tebal. He has been a teacher and is involved in charity work. “Practically everyone here knows him,” said the insider.

Joohari, the Nibong Tebal Member of Parliament, used to be in close contact with Fadhlina, Education Minister, when it came to her parliamentary and party responsibilities.

Joohari, a PhD holder at Universiti Sains Malaysia is the director of Institut Aminuddin Baki’s (Northern Branch), which is known as a leader in leadership and management education.

Sungai Bakap, which PKR had won in consecutive years of 2008, 2013, and 2018, was a PKR stronghold until the last state elections.

Datuk Amar Pritpal Abdullah who won the seat back in 2018 is now the Nibong Tebal PKR Division Chairman. He said that the party’s electoral machinery was ready to ensure a Pakatan win in the by-election.

“We are prepared to make up for the defeat in the state elections last year.”

He said, “However the final decision rests with Prime Minister Datuk Seri Anwar Ibrahim and PKR President Datuk Seri Anwar Ibrahim.”

Nurhidayah said that the women’s wing of the PKR state will support any candidate chosen by the central leadership.

PAS also has a shortlist of names.

Musalmah Yusop (55), the wife of Nor Zamri, is one of them.

Observers believe that she is the best candidate because of her closeness to the community, thanks to the bakery in Nibong Tebal.

Muhammad Fauzi Yusoff, the state PAS commissioner, said that the party had received a list with candidates for the Nibong Tabel division as well as other parties.

The candidates are well qualified, have a good background and have experience. He said that he would submit the list to the party leaders and they could decide.

Nor Zamri (56), a 56-year-old first term assemblyman who died on 24 May, left vacant the Sungai Bakap State seat.

According to the records of the Election Commission from the previous state election, Sungai Bakap has 38 409 voters. The majority is Malays (59.36%). This is followed by Chinese (22.54%), Indians (17.39%), and others (0.71%).

Today, the EC will convene a special session to discuss dates for nominations and voting.

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