Straight fight between PH and PN in Sungai Bakap by-election on July 6

The upcoming Sungai Bakap state by-election in Penang will see a straight fight between candidates from Pakatan Harapan (PH) and Perikatan Nasional (PN).

(The Edge) – Both the PH and PN coalitions followed through with their previously announced candidates: PH with PKR’s Dr Joohari Ariffin, 60, a former lecturer at Institut Aminuddin Baki (northern branch), and PN with Nibong Tebal PAS vice-chairman Abidin Ismail, 56.

No other independent candidates or political parties came for the nomination on Saturday.

It was previously reported that Parti Rakyat Malaysia (PRM) had decided not to contest in the by-election, as its best candidate had been declared bankrupt, despite supposedly declaring himself debt-free.

The Malaysian United Democratic Alliance (Muda), meanwhile, said on Thursday that it was not fielding a candidate in the by-election, saying it is currently undergoing regeneration, focusing on the party election expected in the fourth quarter of this year.

Heavy police presence was seen as early as 7.30am in the nomination centre area here for crowd control.

Joohari was the first candidate to arrive at the nomination centre at 8.45am, as he marched with top leaders of the component parties of the unity government, including from Barisan Nasional (BN), with supporters chanting ‘Reformasi’ and ‘Perpaduan’.

Top leaders from the unity government included Foreign Minister and Umno deputy president Datuk Seri Mohamad Hasan, DAP chairman Lim Guan Eng, Agriculture and Food Security Minister and Amanah president Datuk Seri Mohamad Sabu, PKR Women’s chief and Nibong Tebal Member of Parliament Fadhlina Sidek, and Penang Chief Minister Chow Kon Yeow.

Other key personnel from the unity government seen at the nomination centre to show support included Health Minister and Amanah election director Datuk Seri Dr Dzulkefly Ahmad, BN secretary general and Sungai Bakap election director Datuk Seri Dr Zambry Abdul Kadir, Communications Minister and PH communications director Fahmi Fadzil, Deputy Youth and Sports Minister and PKR Youth chief Adam Adli, and DAP’s Jelutong MP RSN Rayer.

Joohari was registered as candidate number one in the ballot.

On the opposite side of the nomination centre, Abidin, who arrived 10 minutes later, was accompanied by top leaders from PN, including PAS president Tan Sri Abdul Hadi Awang, Kedah Chief Minister and PN election director Datuk Seri Muhammad Sanusi Md Nor, PAS deputy president Datuk Seri Tuan Ibrahim Tuan Man, PAS secretary general Datuk Seri Takiyuddin Hassan, and Bersatu vice-president Datuk Dr Radzi Jidin.

Other key PAS members seen during the march included Perak PAS commissioner and Perak opposition leader Razman Zakaria, Pasir Puteh MP Datuk Dr Nik Muhammad Zawawi Salleh, and Kepala Batas MP Dr Siti Mastura Muhammad.

Although PN is the incumbent, PH supporters’ turnout was visibly stronger in numbers as they included those decked in royal blue representing BN supporters as well. TikTok Live, meanwhile, showed at least five groups comprising PN supporters streaming the march, as they interviewed some of the PN leaders and fellow supporters.

The by-election was called following the death of PN’s Sungai Bakap assemblyman Nor Zamri Latiff on May 24 due to stomach inflammation. In the Penang state election in August last year, the late Nor Zamri, who was also the Nibong Tebal PAS chief, defeated PH candidate Nurhidayah Che Rose with a majority of 1,563 votes. Prior to that, PKR held the seat for three terms since 2008.

For this by-election, Sungai Bakap has 39,222 registered ordinary voters, and 57 police personnel and their spouses.

The Sungai Bakap by-election is the eighth by-election to be held after the 15th general election in November 2022.

The Election Commission set July 6 for polling, with early voting on July 2.