SHAH ALAM • Three candidates will contest a key by-election next month in Selangor, in a battle that analysts say will indicate whether one-time ruling party Umno or the new Pakatan Harapan (PH) administration holds more sway with Malay voters.
The Sungai Kandis vote on Aug 4 is being closely watched as it will be the first by-election since Barisan Nasional (BN), led by Umno, was ousted in the May 9 general election.
The constituency has 51,230 registered voters, of whom 72 per cent are Malay, 16 per cent Indian and 12 per cent Chinese.
Representing BN in the polls is Datuk Lokman Noor Adam, a member of Umno's decision-making Supreme Council. Mr Lokman was also the Finance Ministry's strategic communications director.
Pakatan Harapan is fielding Mr Mohd Zawawi Ahmad Mughni, who is the headmaster of an Islamic school as well as secretary of Parti Keadilan Rakyat's (PKR) Religious Understanding and Consolidation Bureau.
PKR is the main party in the PH ruling coalition.
Mr Lokman and Mr Zawawi as well as independent candidate Murthi Krishnasamy submitted their nomination papers yesterday.
The by-election was called following the death of state assemblyman Mat Shuhaimi Shafiei of PKR on July 2 due to lymphoma.
Mr Mat Shuhaimi defended his seat in the May 9 general election with a 12,480-vote majority in a four-cornered fight.
He polled 23,998 votes, or 55.6 per cent, of the 43,165 valid votes cast. The Umno-BN candidate received 11,518 votes, or 26.7 per cent of valid votes.
BN needs to retain, or improve on, its percentage of votes received to claim that the majority of Malays remain solidly behind it as it tries to regroup as an opposition party.
With Islamist party, Parti Islam SeMalaysia (PAS), staying out of the contest and its leaders openly saying it would work with Umno, Mr Lokman might win some of the PAS votes.
BERNAMA, THE STAR/ASIA NEWS NETWORK