Zaid Ibrahim, to field or not to field?

News reports claim that there is strong indication that PKR may field its Hulu Selangor treasurer, neurosurgeon Dr Halili Rahmat.

By Zefry Dahalan, Free Malaysia Today

As the clock ticks down for the April 25 Hulu Selangor by-election, the burning question is – Will PKR be able to retain the parliamentary seat, which it won with a razor-thin majority in the 2008 general election?

The by-election is crucial for PKR, which is being rocked by an internal crisis. Over the past month, the Anwar Ibrahim-led party has lost four MPs, three of whom resigned, and one sacked.

A victory in the by-election would boost morale among members and silence the critics who argue that the opposition party is on the verge of imploding.

On the other side of the fence, some quarters view the contest as a referrendum on Prime Minister Najib Tun Razak’s leadership, with tomorrow marking his 100th day in office.

Since Najib took over the reins in April 2009, Barisan Nasional had scored an impressive by-election victory in Bagan Pinang, Negeri Sembilan.

However, that win was mostly attributed to the popularity factor of the Umno candidate Mohd Isa Samad.

So, according to observers, it is the Hulu Selangor by-election which would be an acid test for the Najib administration, and its ‘1Malaysia’ clarion call.

The Hulu Selangor by-election has also provided MIC deputy president G Palanivel with a lifeline.

After having lost the seat, which he held for three terms, by a mere 198 votes, this contest could reverse his political fortunes.