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Monday, March 23, 2009

Too many independent candidates in Bukit Selambau?

SUNGAI PETANI, March 21 — reported by malaysianinsider — source : Bernama

With just a week to go to nomination day, at least 11 people have declared their intention to contest as independents in the Bukit Selambau state seat by-election on April 7.

An Election Commission spokesman said the candidates could exceed the 10 symbols made available by the EC for independent candidates during its meeting on Feb 17.

He said over 30 election forms had been bought by individuals who claimed to be planning to contest in the by-election.

Seven of them had even paid the deposit to contest, added the spokesman.

These individuals have been lured to contest the by-election on independent tickets to either split the votes or sit in the state executive council.

They have probably taken the cue from Menteri Besar Datuk Seri Azizan Abdul Razak who said the post of state executive council member left vacant by V. Arumugam would only be filled after the by-election.

Arumugam was the previous state assemblyman for Bukit Selambau.

Merbok Umno chief Datuk Tajul Urus Md Zain said he was unfazed by the long list of independent candidates but anticipated a Barisan Nasional advantage given the situation.

"Most of the independent candidates are (former) members of Parti Keadilan Rakyat who are unhappy with the party's leadership," he said today.

Hence, he said, despite making an offer to the independent candidates to withdraw from the contest, BN would instead encourage them to go ahead.

The 11 individuals intending to contest in the by-election on independent tickets are Kedah/Perlis Quarry Operators Association president Husaini Yaacob, 44, former Merbok PKR committee member Muhammad Radzuan Mat Isa, 52, former Sungai Petani Gerakan Youth chief Tan Hock Huat, 54, and former Kedah People's Progressive Party Wanita chief G. Saralah, 33.

Malaysian India Muslim Congress (Kimma) advisor Datuk Thasleem Mohd Ibrahim, 59, Arumugam's former special assistant S. Moganakumar, 43, Tamil actor R.P.S. Kalaimani, 52, and businessmen M. Venason, 34, R. Loganathan, 43, T. Chandrarajan, 40, and M. Kanapathy, 49.

In the last general election, Arumugam, 55, won the seat on an independent ticket, defeating BN candidate S. Krishnan.

Despite the many independent candidates, all eyes will be on BN candidate S. Ganesan and the PKR's S. Manikumar.

Ganesan, 49, a lawyer and former state assemblyman for Lunas, is a well-known figure in the constituency.

Manikumar, 35, hails from Taman Ria, an area with the highest number of voters in Bukit Selambau constituency.

It is learnt that a group of PKR supporters had staged a protest over Manikumar's selection as he was an ordinary and inactive party member.

Bukit Selambau has 35,140 voters, of whom 30 per cent are Indians.

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