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Three-horse race in Bukit Gantang?

TAIPING, 28 March 2009: The Bukit Gantang by-election might turn out to be a three-corner fight.

An independent, one Kamarul Ramizu, has paid the Election Commission RM10,000 as election deposit, RM5,000 for election materials and RM500 in fees for approval from the Taiping City Hall to put up his campaign material.

“This shows that he is quite serious about contesting,” said by-election assistant returning officer Jailani Hashim, when met at the nomination centre in the Taiping City Hall building today.

Jalaini said not much was known about Kamarul, who is Perak-born. Jalaini was also unsure if Kamarul is a Bukit Gantang local.

Candidates for the by-election will file their nominations papers here tomorrow. The Barisan Nasional is fielding Kampung Kubu Umno deputy branch chairperson Ismail Safian, 48, while PAS is fielding its embattled Perak Menteri Besar and Pasir Panjang assemblyperson Datuk Seri Mohamad Nizar Jamaluddin, 52.

Party flags have already been put up at traffic intersections, on bridges, along roads, and on street lights, despite election campaign rules that campaign materials cannot be put up until after nominations are filed.

PAS and BN flags get motorists’ attention at a traffic junction

Asked about the breach of rules, Election Commission (EC) chairperson Tan Sri Aziz Yusof said EC monitoring officers and Taiping City Hall officers would make rounds after nominations are filed tomorrow to remove flags that are obstructive.

“We decided to give and take. If we take the flags down now, we might stir up emotions and anger. Starting tomorrow, we’ll remove those that are in inappropriate places. We appeal to supporters not to be angry,” he said at the nomination centre.

The Bukit Gantang parliamentary constituency has an electorate of 55,562. The by-election is necessitated by the death of its Member of Parliament Roslan Shahrom of PAS on 9 Feb.

In the general election held in March last year, Roslan defeated the BN’s Datuk Seri Abdul Azim Zabidi Roslan by a majority of 1,566 votes, while an independent candidate, M Mogan, secured only 882 votes and lost his deposit.

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