KOTA BHARU – The Chempaka state by-election on March 22 is a five-cornered contest among a PAS candidate and four independent candidates.
The PAS candidate is Ahmad Fathan Mahmood alias Mahamad, 42, the head of ulama affairs in the Chempaka constituency.
The independent candidates are Izat Bukhary Ismail Bukhary, 48, a former independent candidate for the Pengkalan Kubor state seat; Sharif Mahmood, 59, former Kelantan Perkasa vice-president; Fadzillah Hussin, 55, president of the Pertubuhan Keturunan Paduka Raja Cik Siti Wan Kembang and Aslah Mamat, 64, a Health Ministry pensioner.
Returning officer Ibrahim Bakri Mat Deris announced the names of the candidates at the Nomination Centre at the Dewan Bitara of the Mara Junior Science College at 10.45 am.
He said the nomination forms were received from Ahmad Fathan at 9.05 am; Izat Bukhary, 9.12 am; Fadzillah, 9.17 am; Sharif, 9.18 am and Aslah, 9.20 am.
The one-hour nomination process, from 9 am to 10 am, went smoothly.
Ahmad Fathan, who is also the Pengkalan Chepa PAS treasurer, and his supporters marched 1.6 kilometres from the Kelantan Islamic Tarbiah Centre to the nomination centre.
Kelantan Menteri Besar Datuk Ahmad Yakob, Parti Keadilan Rakyat (PKR) president Datuk Seri Dr Wan Azizah Wan Ismail and PAS deputy president Mohamad Sabu were among the party leaders who accompanied Ahmad Fathan.
Security was under control and the weather was fine.
The by-election has been necessitated by the death of the assemblyman, PAS spiritual leader and former Kelantan menteri besar Datuk Nik Abdul Aziz Nik Mat on Feb 12 at the age of 84.
In the 13th general election, held in May 2013, Nik Abdul Aziz retained the seat by beating Wan Razman Wan Abdul Razak of the Barisan Nasional (BN) with a majority of 6,500 votes. He polled 12,310 votes to Wan Razman’s 5,810.
The Chempaka constituency has 21,890 registered voters, comprising 20,390 ordinary voters, 1,497 early voters and three absentee voters.
The BN is not be contesting in the by-election so as to concentrate on post-flood rehabilitation in Kelantan following the extraordinary floods that hit the state in December last year. – BERNAMA