Tuesday, January 6, 2009

By-election: Three-cornered fight - Star



(From left) PAS' Mohd Abdul Wahid Endut, Barisan Nasional’s Datuk Wan Ahmad Farid Wan Salleh and Independent Azharudin Mamat alias Adam will be contesting in the Kuala Terengganu parliamentary seat by-election.

The Kuala Terengganu by-election on Jan 17 will see a three-cornered tussle between Barisan Nasional, PAS and an independent candidate.

Returning officer Datuk Mat Razali Kassim said that Barisan candidate Datuk Wan Ahmad Farid Wan Salleh filed his papers at 9.13am on Tuesday, followed by PAS’ Mohd Abdul Wahid Endut five minutes later.

Surprise independent candidate Azharuddin Mamat @ Adam handed in his papers two minutes before the end of the nomination period.

The 46-year-old candidate had arrived about 9.20am, but was seen leaving the nomination centre a few minutes later, presumedly to look for an eligible sponsor and seconder.

Independent candidate Isma Airfath had earlier stated his intention to contest, but did not turn up for nomination.

Mat Razali said that four objections had been received, but none accepted.

Wan Farid had arrived at the State Stadium which served as the nomination centre slightly before 9.00am, accompanied by a large crowd of supporters.

The Barisan procession, which according to police numbered between 15,000 and 20,000 people, had started from Terengganu Mentri Besar Ahmad Said’s official residence about 500m away.

PAS supporters arrived from the Batu Bersurat roundabout at the opposite end of Jalan Sultan Mahmud, where the nomination centre is situated.

Leading the Barisan group was Deputy Prime Minister Datuk Seri Mohd Najib Tun Razak and other party leaders including MCA president Datuk Seri Ong Tee keat, Gerakan president Tan Sri Dr Koh Tsu Koon, MIC secretary-general Datuk Dr S. Subramaniam and Umno vice-president Tan Sri Muhyiddin Yassin.

The 10,000 or so PAS supporters were led by party president Datuk Seri Abdul Hadi Awang, deputy president Nasharuddin Mat Isa, Selangor Mentri Besar Tan Sri Khalid Ibrahim and DAP national adviser Lim Kit Siang.

Wan Ahmad Farid was proposed by Terengganu Umno Youth chief Mohd Sabri Alwi and seconded by MCA secretary-general Datuk Wong Foon Meng.

Abdul Wahid’s proposer was Terengganu PAS Commissioner Datuk Mustafa Ali and his seconder was Md Azmi Lok Yusof.

Azharuddin was proposed by his brother Ahmad Affendi Shah Mamat @ Adam and seconded by Zakaria Abdullah.

Keadilan Insan Malaysia (Akim) candidate Harun @ Ab Rahman Mohamad, who had stated his intention to contest, arrived about 9.20am. However, he quickly pulled out of the race, saying he was throwing his support behind the PAS candidate.

The atmosphere around the nomination centre was relatively calm. Shouts of “Allahu Akbar” (God is Great) and party slogans were heard only sporadically from supporters who were kept behind a barricade about 50m from the entrance.

Barisan supporters at the opposite end of the barricade were relatively quiet throughout the nomination process.

Najib, when asked about this restraint, said: “Why should we make noise? It is not necessary.”

Police had closed several roads near the stadium to facilitate crowd control, while police helicopters hovered above. No untoward incidents were reported.

The by-election is being held following the death of incumbent Datuk Razali Ismail on Nov 28 last year.

There are 80,229 voters in the constituency, of whom 2,036 are postal voters.

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