KUALA KANGSAR – The Kuala Kangsar parliamentary by-election will likely see at least a three cornered fight, after Barisan Nasional (BN), PAS and Parti Amanah Negara (Amanah) all announced their candidates.
According to political analysts, the seat, which is traditionally contested by UMNO (representing BN) and PAS, would certainly be more interesting now that Amanah, a PAS splinter is getting involved.
They opined that the election campaign would also see UMNO and PAS have more ‘mutual respect’ and be mature in their political campaigns, following changes in the political scenario as well as the ‘good relations’ between both parties.
“Usually, PAS’ (campaign) bullets are targeted at BN, but this time, I see it (the campaign and contention) will be more between PAS and Amanah, and this will be more favorable to BN,” said political analyst Assoc Prof Dr Jeniri Amir, when contacted by Bernama.
BN had early on announced Datin Mastura Mohd Yazid, wife of the late Datuk Wan Mohammad Khair-il Anuar Wan Ahmad, who was in the incumbent, as its candidate.
PAS named Perak PAS Women’s chief Dr Najihatussalehah Ahmad, while Amanah picked former Universiti Teknologi Malaysia professor, Dr Ahmad Termizi Ramli.
Apart from that, UMNO Youth member Syed Rosli Syed Harman Jamalullail who has announced on social media that he would contest as an independent candidate, faces the sack from UMNO should he go ahead with the plan on nomination day tomorrow.
Jeniri, a senior lecturer of the Faculty of Social Sciences at Universiti Malaysia Sarawak, said the by-election would be more of a litmus test for PAS and Amanah to gauge their support among voters.
“I do not deny that Amanah and PAS have fielded competent candidates, but it’s not a big hurdle to the BN candidate in Kuala Kangsar, based on the good track record of BN in the area,” he said.
The by-election is being held following the death of Wan Mohammad Khair-il Anuar, who was killed in a helicopter crash in Sarawak, on May 5.
Meanwhile, Universiti Utara Malaysia political analyst Assoc Prof Dr Mohd Azizuddin Mohd Sani said the dispute between PAS and Amanah would cause a split in votes among opposition supporters.
“I expect the opposition votes to be split, and of course, this would be favorable to BN,” he told Bernama.
“The dispute between PAS and Amanah would disappoint many opposition supporters, and it is possible they could also turn towards BN,” he said.
When announcing the nominee from Amanah, its president Mohamad Sabu said the by-election was a defining moment for the party, which would be placing a candidate in an election in the peninsula for the first time since it was established on September 16, 2015.
Mohamad Sabu and DAP secretary-general Lim Guan Eng, who previously attacked and criticised UMNO, switched their attention towards PAS during the announcement of the Amanah candidate.
Polling is on June 18. In the 13th General Election, Wan Mohammad Khair-il Anuar won with a 1,082-vote majority.
A total of 32,949 people are eligible to vote in the by-election according to the electoral roll, as of May 7.