Tenang rep dies, sparks 14th by-election since 2008

By Syed Mu’az Syed Putra, The Malaysian Insider

Tenang state assemblyman Datuk Sulaiman Taha died early this morning near here due to complications from diabetes, triggering the 14th by-election since Election 2008. He was 59.

The two-term Johor state lawmaker has been undergoing treatment at the Hospital Ampang Puteri since November 24 for diabetes and high blood pressure.

His personal assistant Razak Rashid told The Malaysian Insider earlier that Sulaiman (picture) had complained of fever and was admitted to hospital a day after the Sultan of Johor’s birthday celebration last month.

The Labis Umno division chief spent two days at the Segamat Hospital before he was transferred to a private hospital outside Kuala Lumpur.

He leaves wife Datin Noraini Yaakop and seven children. Funeral prayers were held at the Masjid Ubudian Ampang Tasik before his remains were sent to Labis for burial.

Sulaiman retained the Tenang state seat in the last general election after he defeated PAS’s Mohd Saim Siran by a majority of 2,492 votes.

The seat is situated within the Labis parliamentary constituency, a stronghold of MCA president Datuk Dr Chua Soi Lek and currently represented by his son Chua Tee Yong.

Another Labis state seat, Bekok, was also won Barisan Nasional’s (BN) Tan Kok Hong by a majority of 1,944 votes.

Sulaiman’s absence from the state assembly’s entire budget sitting last month had fuelled rumours of another by-election.

Since Election 2008, 13 by-elections have been called, with 10 of them caused by the death of lawmakers. Pakatan Rakyat (PR) parties have won eight of the 13 by-elections.

It is understood that Johor PAS leaders have been making preparations for a by-election, which would be the state’s first since the last general election.