KUALA LUMPUR, 12 Aug 2009: The Barisan Nasional (BN) and PAS are set to name their respective candidates for the Permatang Pasir state by-election, with PAS expected to announce it on Thursday night, while the BN on Friday.
BN sources said five names have been submitted to Prime Minister Datuk Seri Najib Razak, and they include Permatang Pauh Umno chief Mohd Nasir Abdullah, and Permatang Pauh Umno Youth chief Zaidi Mohd Said.
The other three names are Permatang Pauh Umno deputy chief Rahim Man; the division’s committee member Abdul Aziz Sheikh Ahmad; and a young local lawyer, Rohaizat Othman.
Meanwhile, sources from PAS said the state party committee had also submitted to its central committee a list of names, and that the committee had on Sunday shortlisted five names for consideration by the top leadership. They are Penang PAS commissioner Salleh Man; central committee member Mohamad Sabu; Penang PAS deputy commissioner Rosidi Hussain; Penang Youth chief Mohd Yusni Mohd Piah; and special aide to the late Datuk Mohd Mohd Hamdan Abdul Rahman, Shamsul Kamal Sahpie.
Party insiders said both Salleh and Mohamad Sabu, who are locals, are the frontrunners, but Mohamad Sabu or popularly known as Abang Mat or Mat Sabu is said to be the top choice.
“Most central committee members are optimistic that Mat Sabu will be picked as the candidate but are leaving it to party president to make the final decision,” a party insider said.
PAS Secretary-General Datuk Mustapa Ali, when contacted, declined to confirm or deny talks that Mohamad Sabu is the preferred choice, but said that the candidate would be a local, and that his name would be announced tomorrow night.
“The candidates’ list is with our president Datuk Seri Abdul Hadi Awang. [Hadi] himself will make the announcement,” he told Bernama.
The Permatang Pasir state seat in Penang fell vacant following the death of its assemblyperson, Mohd Hamdan Abdul Rahman, 63, of PAS, on 31 July. This will be the eighth by-election since last year’s general election.
The Election Commission has fixed 17 Aug as nomination day, and 25 Aug as polling day, with a campaigning period of eight days.
Permatang Pasir is one of three seats in Permatang Pauh parliamentary constituency and is the sole PAS state seat in Penang. It is considered the party’s stronghold.
In the March 2008 general election, Mohd Hamdan, the Permatang Pasir assemblyperson for three terms since 1999, secured 11,004 votes to defeat the BN’s Ahmad Sahar Shuib by a 5,433-vote majority. — Bernama