Next Friday, EC meet to decide Hulu Selangor By Election date
March 26, 2010 21:20 PM
BN Has Plenty Of “Ammo” In Facing PR In Hulu Selangor – Muhyiddin
PUTRAJAYA, March 26 (Bernama) — The Barisan Nasional (BN) has plenty of “ammo” in facing Pakatan Rakyat (PR) in the upcoming Hulu Selangor by-election, said Deputy Prime Minister Tan Sri Muhyiddin Yassin.
“During campaigning, all kinds of things wil happen but we have plenty of material in our arsenal now which we can use in the by-election,” he told reporters after visiting a National Key Result Area laboratory for quality teaching at the Education Ministry here on Friday.
The Hulu Selangor seat fell vacant following the death of its member of parliament Dr Zainal Abidin Ahmad of Parti Keadilan Rakyat (PKR) yesterday.
Zainal, 71, who was a former menteri besar of Selangor when he was in the BN and joined PKR in 2005, defeated the BN’s Datuk G. Palanivel by a slim majority of 198 votes in the last general election in 2008.
Palanivel, who is MIC deputy chairman, was also Women, Family and Community Development deputy minister then.
Muhyiddin, who is also BN deputy chairman, said the people in Selangor had become fed up of the PR government in the state.
“I am hearing many grouses about the PR government, the people (in Selangor) are regretting voting in the PR to be the government in the state (in the last election) and have come to realise that only the BN can deliver the goods.
“However, we (BN) must not be complacent or over confident of our chances,” he said.
As to the candidate, Muhyiddin, who is also Education Minister, said the person must be well-liked by the people and able to discharge his duties as a BN elected representative towards the betterment of the people in Hulu Selangor.
“We will put the best person possible to contest the seat. At the moment, the candidate who will represent the BN will be from MIC,” he said.
Asked if Umno would be contesting the seat, Muhyiddin said at the moment, he did not know what was the actual decision taken concerning the matter.
“Although there are views as such (for BN to be represented by Umno), the final decision will be made at the very top level… we will just have to wait,” he said.
Muhyiddin also extended his condolences to Zainal Abidin’s family.
The Election Commission will meet next Friday to decide on the date for the by-election.
By Adib Zalkapli
SHAH ALAM, March 26 — Hulu Selangor MP Datuk Dr Zainal Abidin Ahmad’s death last night has sparked a scramble among likely candidates to stand in a seat crucial to both Barisan Nasional (BN) and Pakatan Rakyat’s (PR) confidence ahead of the next general election.
It is understood that BN might give the seat — with a significant Indian vote — to Umno, and will provide a different seat to MIC, whose deputy president, Datuk G. Palanivel, stood there in Election 2008.
PR will stick to PKR contesting the seat that Zainal Abidin had won with a wafer-thin majority of 198 in the last elections. But the party is keen to present a strong candidate to keep the seat and stem its loss, following the departure of four federal lawmakers, who are now independents.
The Malays make up 53.9 per cent of the more than 60,000 voters in the constituency. The Chinese vote pool there stands at 26.7 per cent, and Indians, approximately 19 per cent, while other races are at 0.41 per cent.
It is understood that, with the Malay vote is evenly split, PKR is hoping to retain the Indian support that it received in Election 2008.
PKR won the seat two years ago on the back of ethnic Indian uprising, which saw the formation Indian rights group, Hindraf.
The Malaysian Insider understands that PKR had identified an Indian professional to contest the seat even before Dr Zainal Abidin’s death.
Another name, PKR political bureau member, Datuk Zaid Ibrahim, also emerged last night as a potential PKR candidate but his name is unlikely to appear on ballot paper, said a party insider.
But Selangor PKR election director, Abdullah Sani, dismissed any talk of potential candidates for the seat.
“The party leaders have not even met on this issue, so any name mention now is merely speculation,” he told The Malaysian Insider.
Abdullah also played down the race factor in candidate selection.
“If it is such an important factor, Dr Zainal would not have won in the last election. Furthermore, he was already very sick during the campaign,” he said.
For BN, the sentiment among the Umno grassroots leaders is the seat should be contested by candidate from the Malay party, despite the hard work put in by Palanivel in the constituency for the last few months.
Palanivel’s candidacy and the expected BN victory would give the MIC deputy president the much-needed legitimacy to take over the party leadership from Datuk Seri S. Samy Vellu.
“The demand by Umno for the seat is not new, it started since the era of Tan Sri Muhammad (Muhammad) Taib. When I was the division Youth chief in the 1980s, we even sent a memorandum to the leadership,” said Hulu Selangor Umno division chief, Datuk Mohamed Idris Abu Bakar.
“But the division will listen to the top leaders; if they field MIC we will follow, but if they give [the seat to] Umno we will be happier,” said the Hulu Bernam assemblyman.
Palanivel has been campaigning in the seat despite his narrow loss in Election 2008.
“I will work even harder to wrest the seat back for BN,” he said when contacted last night.
“I am ready, I have been working and serving the people non-stop.”
BN has 137 lawmakers in the 222-seat Dewan Rakyat, while PR only has 78, after three PKR men turned independent and another was kicked out of the party. There are now five independents and two SAPP lawmakers in Parliament.
“This will be an interesting by-election to watch, especially in the current situation,” political analyst, Associate Professor Dr Sivamurugan Pandian, told The Malaysian Insider.
A senior PR leader admitted as much, saying, “There will be a lot of horse-trading in both coalitions for the best candidate, whose victory will boost the winning coalition’s confidence.
Speaking on condition of anonymity, he said the Indian electorate’s unpredictability will complicate the campaigning in the seat.
“The Indian vote is difficult,” the leader conceded, alluding to the coalition’s loss in the Bagan Pinang state seat by-election, where the Indians swung to support Tan Sri Isa Samad’s political comeback to win for Umno.
Zainal Abidin, who suffered from brain cancer, passed away last night at his home in 9, 1/2, Jalan Cheras, Kajang, and leaves behind a wife, Datin Siti Zaharah Mohd Zin and four children. He was 71.
The Dewan Rakyat Speaker will have to inform the Election Commission, which will then call for a by-election within 60 days,
Prime Minister Datuk Seri Najib Razak had launched Umno’s Juara Rakyat campaign to win votes there last February, promising RM15 million to repair the roofs of public flats in the constituency.
Pakatan Rakyat de facto leader, Datuk Seri Anwar Ibrahim, has also spoken there at ceramahs and promised services after the PKR MP fell ill.
Analysts say the Malay vote is evenly split between the rival coalitions, so the significant Indian minority will be crucial to both.
Zainal Abidin was an Umno Hulu Langat state assemblyman from 1990 before being dropped from contesting the 2004 election.
He served as deputy mentri besar from 1995 to 1999 and was also in the state executive council under the then-mentri besar, Datuk Seri Khir Toyo.
Zainal Abidin crossed over to PKR in 2005 following a fall out with Umno.
Zainal Abidin (left), who died from brain cancer last night, left behind wife Siti Zaharah Mohd Zin and four children – three daughters and a son.
Present at the funeral were PKR de facto leader Anwar Ibrahim, its president Wan Azizah Wan Ismail, deputy president Syed Husin Ali, Selangor PAS commissioner Dr Hasan Ali, Selangor Umno deputy chairperson Noh Omar, PKR vice-president Azmin Ali, Kulim-Bandar Baru MP Zulkifli Noordin, Pakatan Rakyat coordinator Zaid Ibrahim, Umno information chief Ahmad Maslan and DAP advisor Lim Kit Siang.
Earlier around 300 people ,including neighbours, friends and journalists ,had paid their last respects at his house in Batu 9 1/2, Jalan Cheras .
Picture taking within the compound of the house and during the burial was disallowed.
Too distraught to speak to reporters the family was whisked away.
Muslim leaders had also accompanied the family when the body was taken to the Masjid Batu 10 – better known as the Yellow Mosque around 10.30am for prayers.
Loss to Selangor people
Opposition Leader Anwar, when met said that he was saddened by the loss as he had known Zainal Abidin since the 1970’s when he was a University Malaya student.
“He was a man with strong ideals in education and language. I was an active member of the Malay Association back then,” he said.
“Although he could not perform his duties as member of parliament for a long time as he was sick, but he will always be remembered,” said Anwar.
Meanwhile, Agriculture and Agro-based Industry Minister, Noh said his passing away is a loss to the people of Selangor.
“My sympathies are with the family. He was well-known for his service when he was the deputy menteri besar of Selangor. We can not deny his contribution to the people of Selangor and Umno,” said Noh.
DAP leader Lim also expressed his condolences, saying; “I am sad at his death. My sympathies are with the family “.
Zainal Abidin was born on Oct 10, 1939 and started his career as a teacher at the Kajang High School (1961-1968) and was later the principal of Sekolah Menengah Kuala Kubu Baru from 1972-1973, before being appointed a lecturer at Universiti Kebangsaan Malaysia (UKM) in 1974.
He then won a doctorate in Political Science from the University of California, Los Angeles, in 1980 and was promoted Dean of the education faculty in UKM before leaving the academic world to enter politics in 1989.
Before being appointed Selangor deputy menteri besar in 1999, he was a strong Umno member and served as a Selangor state executive councillor for eight years and Hulu Langat Umno division chief for 14.
In March 2005, he decided to leave Umno for the PKR.
Zainal Abidin seized the Hulu Selangor seat from the incumbent G Palanivel, the BN-MIC candidate at the 2008 general election.