IT was a hot, humid morning in Penanti on nomination day, 23 May 2009. It could have been the heat, or the Barisan Nasional (BN)’s absence, that made proceedings a tad more subdued compared to the tri-elections of 7 April. Nevertheless, a 1,000-strong crowd turned up to support the Pakatan Rakyat (PR)’s candidate, Dr Mansor Othman from Parti Keadilan Rakyat (PKR).
Despite having to compete against three independents this time, it looks like Mansor is a shoo-in. As ex-Umno maverick Datuk Zaid Ibrahim — who was at the nomination centre this morning — tells The Nut Graph, “BN only wants to contest where they can win — but that’s not going to happen for a while.”
Altogether four independents filed their nomination papers, but one, Mohd Saberi Othman, was disqualified. This means Mansor will face former Penang PKR Wanita chief Aminah Abdullah, 56, manufacturing company manager Nai Khan Ari Nai Keow, 41, and Parti Imam SeMalaysia (PIS)’s Kamarul Ramizu Idris, 42.
Still, PR is anything but complacent, judging by the big guns that showed up today. Among those spotted were PKR de facto head Datuk Seri Anwar Ibrahim, Penang Chief Minister Lim Guan Eng, DAP adviser Lim Kit Siang, embattled Perak Menteri Besar Datuk Seri Mohammad Nizar Jamaluddin, Selangor Menteri Besar Tan Sri Khalid Ibrahim, and PKR vice-president Azmin Ali.
Only the voters can decide if Penanti will spring any surprises come polling day on 31 May.