Gwo Burne on the chopping block?

Sources say PKR will choose either Tan Yee Kew or Wong Chen for Kelana Jaya.

Leven Woon, FMT

PKR is set to drop Kelana Jaya MP Loh Gwo Burne from its list of election candidates, according to insiders.

A source at PKR headquarters told FMT today that the party was determined to present the best lineup of parliamentary candidates in Selangor to face a fierce Barisan Nasional challenge and Loh did not fit in because of his lacklustre performance as an MP.

Loh rose to prominence in 2007 for capturing a video showing controversial lawyer VK Lingam in a telephone conversation that many believed was proof that he used his influence to manipulate judicial appointments.

Loh was one of the surprise winners in the 2008 election.

However, the PKR source said, opinion polls conducted by the party showed that his constituents were disappointed that he had not served them well.

They had expected him to be vocal in Parliament, he added. “But what has he done in the past five years?”

A PKR grassroots leader in Kelana Jaya said Loh had only “a 40% chance” of being re-nominated by his party.

He said Loh “got very lucky” in 2008 but had not repaid those who voted for him by adequately representing them.

“Basically, his contribution stopped with his exposure of the Lingam video,” he added. “It’s only recently that he started working very hard all of a sudden.”

Sources said PKR would choose between two candidates for Kelana Jaya—Wong Chen, who heads the party’s Trade and Investment Bureau, and Tan Yee Kew, who defected from MCA in 2008 and now sits in the PKR central committee.

“They each stand a 50-50 chance,” said one source, adding that Wong had lately been meeting grassroots leaders in Kelana Jaya.

Until 2008, Kelana Jaya was an MCA stronghold. Chinese voters there make up more than 40% of the electorate. Malays account for 39% and Indians 18%.

Loh defeated MCA’s Lee Hwa Beng by 5,031 votes in 2008.

There are 22 parliament seats in Selangor. In 2008, PKR won eight seats and DAP took five and PAS four.

The sources also said PKR would field new candidates for the Selangor seats that it failed to capture in 2008. These would include law scholar Abdul Aziz Bari for Sabak Bernam and party strategist Rafizi Ramli for Pandan.

Khalid Jaafar, a long time associate of Anwar Ibrahim, is expected to contest in Hulu Selangor, a seat that the party won in 2008 but lost to MIC’s P Kamalanathan in a by-election in 2010.