THE Bukit Gantang parliamentary by-election is expected to see a tough fight between the Barisan Nasional (BN) and Pakatan Rakyat (PR).
Although there are three contenders, the real competition is between the Kampung Kubu Umno branch deputy chairperson Ismail Saffian and PAS’s embattled Perak Menteri Besar and Pasir Panjang assemblyperson Datuk Seri Mohammad Nizar Jamaluddin.
The third and independent candidate is Kamarul Ramizu Idris, who has chosen a black brolly as his election symbol.
Party supporters began to show up at the nomination centre at the Taiping Municipal Council Hall even before the sun was fully out. The police and Federal Reserve Unit (FRU) were present to keep an eye on the boisterous supporters, making sure to separate them on two different sides of the field next to the centre.
Leaders from both the BN and PR showed up to lend their support. Notable among them were newly-elected Umno leaders, including deputy president Tan Sri Muhyiddin Yassin.
Among the PR leaders, PAS president Datuk Seri Abdul Hadi Awang and DAP chairperson Karpal Singh were seen mingling at the opposition tent.
As expected, party supporters turned up decked in party colours, waving banners and loudly taunting their rivals.