SHAH ALAM (BERNAMA, THE STAR/ASIA NEWS NETWORK) - Three candidates will face off in a key by-election to be held next month in Selangor, after they submitted their nomination papers on Saturday (July 21).
The Sungai Kandis polls on Aug 4 is being closely watched as it will be the first by-election since Barisan Nasional (BN) was ousted in the May 9 general election.
Parti Keadilan Rakyat (PKR) is fielding Mohd Zawawi Ahmad Mughni, the headmaster of an Islamic school, Tahfiz Al Fateh Jalan Kebun. He is also secretary of the PKR Religious Understanding and Consolidation Bureau.
Umno supreme council member Lokman Noor Adam is the BN candidate.
They are joined by independent candidate Murthi Krishnasamy.
Analysts expect the by-election to yield clues on the voting direction of Malay voters with regards to Umno and the two-month-old Pakatan Harapan (PH) government led by Prime Minister Mahathir Mohamad.
Sungai Kandis is a Malay-majority seat comprising of 72 per cent Malay voters, 16 per cent Indian voters and 12 per cent Chinese voters.
The constituency has 51,230 registered voters.
Umno-led BN needs to retain, or improve on, its percentage of votes received in May to claim that the majority Malays remain solidly behind it as it tries to regroup as an opposition party.
The by-election was called following the death of the state assemblyman, Mat Shuhaimi Shafiei of PKR, on July 2 due to lymphoma.
The late Mat Shuhaimi defended his seat in the May general election with a 12,480-vote majority in the 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.
A candidate from Parti Islam SeMalaysia (PAS) got 7,573 votes (17.5 per cent), while one from Parti Rakyat Malaysia polled just 76 votes.
With Islamist party PAS staying out of the contest and its leaders openly saying it would work with fellow opposition party Umno, some of the PAS votes might benefit Datuk Lokman.
Tun Mahathir, asked on Saturday about PAS not fielding its candidate for the by-election, a move that could help Umno win the seat, “They (PAS and Umno) are siblings.”