By-election: Three-cornered fight

(The Star) KUALA TERENGGANU: It will be a three-cornered fight for the Kuala Terengganu parliamentary seat with three candidates having filed their papers on nomination day on Tuesday.

They are Barisan Nasional’s Datuk Wan Ahmad Farid Wan Salleh, PAS candidate Abdul Mohd Wahid Endut and independent Azharudin Mamat alias Adam, a 46-year-old businessman.

Wan Ahmad Farid, the former Deputy Home Minister, arrived at the nomination centre at the State Stadium here at about 8.50am, accompanied by Deputy Prime Minister Datuk Seri Najib Tun Razak, Terengganu Mentri Besar Ahmad Said, MCA president Ong Tee Keat, Gerakan chief Dr Koh Tsu Koon, MIC’s S. Subramaniam and other Barisan leaders.

PAS’ Abdul Mohd arrived about 10mins later accompanied by party president Hadi Awang and other Pakatan Rakyat leaders.

Independent candidate Isma Airfath was expected to file his papers but did not turn up, although another independent Azharuddin decided to.

The latter arrived at about 9.30am, but left not soon after. He was heard muttering that he could not file his nomination papers and was seen asking for the whereabouts of his sponsor and seconder. He was then seen re-entering the nomination hall about 10mins later and finally filed his papers.

Angkatan Keadilan Insan Malaysia (Akim) vice-president Harun Moahamad arrived at about 9.20am, but pulled out to make way for the PAS candidate.

Police had mounted roadblocks as early as 7am as tens of thousand supporters gathered for nomination day.

A police spokesman said about 30,000 Barisan Nasional supporters and 15,000 PAS supporters had gathered to begin their march to the nomination centre.

There are 80,229 voters in the constituency, of whom 2,036 are postal voters.

The nomination process started at 9am and closed at 10am.

The returning officer is expected to make an official announcement on the candidates by noon.

The by-election is being held following the sudden death of Barisan’s Razali Ismail on Nov 28.

The atmosphere at the nomination centre was relatively calm as only the candidates, their proposers and seconders and a group of not more than 150 supporters were allowed in. No untoward incidents have been reported thus far.