BUKIT MERTAJAM: Nominations for the Permatang Pauh by-election begun at 9am with both the PKR and Umno candidates arriving at the National Youth Skills Institute (IKBN) in Berapit here on Saturday.
Independent candidate Dr Abdullah Zawawi Samsudin has withdrawn from contesting in the by-election.
PKR will be fielding Datuk Seri Dr Wan Azizah while Suhaimi Sabudin, 44, was named the Barisan Nasional candidate.
Several independent candidates are also expected to file their nominations, which will close at 10am.
The returning officer is expected to announce the candidates of the by-election at 11am.
The by-election had taken on a carnival atmosphere with supporters of Barisan and Pakatan Rakyat chanting and waving flags of their parties.
The road leading to the nomination centre lined with traders with food, drinks and snacks sold as early as 7am.
Even several coffee shops located within the vicinity were full of customers.
There was also a strong police presence at the scene with a police helicopter circling above.
Party bigwigs from both sides were present with Umno deputy president Tan Sri Muhyiddin Hassan, Umno vice president Datuk Seri Dr Zahid Hamidi and MCA president Datuk Seri Liow Tiong Lai lending their support to Suhaimi.
PKR deputy president Datuk Azmin Ali, DAP secretary-general Lim Guan Eng and PAS secretary general Datuk Mustafa Ali were present to support Dr Wan Azizah.
The Permatang Pauh seat was declared vacant when its incumbent Datuk Seri Anwar Ibrahim, who is the husband of Dr Wan Azizah, was disqualified following the Pardons Board’s rejection of a royal pardon he sought for the five-year jail for his sodomy conviction.
Anwar, who is PKR adviser, won the seat by a majority of 11,721 votes in the May 2013 general election.
He polled 37,090 votes to Barisan Nasional’s Mazlan Ismail who polled 25,369 votes.
The Election Commission has set May 7 for polling.