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Penanti by-election likely to be tame affair

PENANG, 20 May 2009: Food stall operator Che Som is looking forward to the Penanti state by-election next week.

He is banking on the anticipated influx of people in the small town of Penanti where he operates to earn a little more.

Like Che Som, many people in the town, located in the Permatang Pauh parliamentary constituency, are engaged in business or farming.

The town also hosts several cottage industries run by housewives to augment the household income.

Che Som says that as the town does not have any electronic factories, the people engage in small business and farming to earn a living.

It is believed that the town sprouted as an Orang Asli settlement in the last century.

The by-election is likely to be a tame affair as the Barisan Nasional (BN) has decided to skip it as the coalition believes the vacancy “is not provided for in the constitution” and the situation is being used by Parti Keadilan Rakyat (PKR) to resolve its internal problems.

The by-election has been necessitated by the resignation of state assemblyperson and former Penang deputy chief minister I Mohammad Fairus Khairuddin who said he wanted to take up post-graduate studies.

Nomination is set for 23 May and polling on May 31.

The by-election is expected to be a three-cornered contest, among the PKR and two independent candidates.

The PKR candidate is likely to be Penang PKR deputy chairman Mansor Othman, 56. The independent candidates are expected to be businessman Mohd Saberi Othman, 49, and former Penang Parti Keadilan Nasional (KeAdilan) Wanita chief Aminah Abdullah, 56.

Mansor contested the Pulau Betong state seat in the general election last year and lost to Muhamad Farid Saad of the BN by 294 votes. He had polled 4,696 votes.

The Penanti state constituency has 15,384 electors, 72.68% of them Malay Malaysians, 24.22% Chinese Malaysians, 2.39% Indian Malaysians and 0.71% other communities.

It has 10 polling districts, namely Guar Perahu, Kuala Mengkuang, Telok Wang, Mengkuang, Sungai Lembu, Penanti, Kubang Ulu, Sungai Semambu, Tanah Liat Mukim 8 and Jalan Berapit.

PKR won the seat in the general election in 1999 and retained it in 2008.

Asked about the by-election, Che Som just smiled and said: “I hope my business will do well because many people will come here.” — Bernama

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