GOMBAK - Selangor Menteri Besar Azmin Ali looked calm as he arrived at the Gombak nomination centre on Saturday (April 28) despite facing prospects of three-cornered contests and attacks from his own brother at the polls.
The deputy president of federal opposition party Parti Keadilan Rakyat (PKR) was greeted by hundreds of supporters decked in aquamarine shouting "Reformasi!", the battlecry of protesters in 1998 after PKR leader Anwar Ibrahim was sacked from his post as deputy prime minister.
Set to defend his parliamentary constituency for a third term, Datuk Seri Azmin will be challenged by Barisan Nasional's (BN) Abdul Rahim Pandak Kamaruddin and Khairil Nizam Khirudin from Parti Islam Semalaysia (PAS), a former opposition ally.
"I've been staying in Mutiara Gombak for the past nine years and safe to say, I'm really happy with how Azmin has been running the place, we've been enjoying better policies after he was elected," said 48-year-old financial officer Muhamad Irsyad, who was observing the crowd of supporters nearby.
Mr Azmin will also be contesting in the state assembly seat of Bukit Antarabangsa, where his brother Azwan Ali has chosen to run as an independent candidate using the logo of an elephant.
"I chose the elephant because it is big and strong," he was reported saying.
A popular talk show host known for his flamboyance, Mr Azwan has previously threatened to reveal secrets about his brother and claimed to have details of graft allegations against him.
When met at the nomination centre Mr Azwan told The Straits Times he would try his best to fulfil broken promises made by past leaders.
"They want the leader (to build) a playground, (get rid) of Aedes mosquitoes, (rectify) water and housing woes ... If I win, I will cook my chicken rendang and I will keep my promise," he said.
Mr Azmin declined to comment on his brother's chances at the polls on May 9.
"We are a democratic country ... if you want to contest, I will not stop you," said Mr Azmin. "Let the rakyat (people) decide."
While Mr Azmin is likely to emerge victor in the five-cornered contest in Bukit Antarabangsa, he faces a more serious onslaught state-wide. BN has set its sights on wresting Selangor, Malaysia's richest state from opposition pact Pakatan Harapan (PH), led in the state by PKR.
BN holds only 12 of the 56 seats in the state assembly, but PH's previous generous majority of 42 seats has been eroded to just 29, after the departure of PAS from the opposition pact.
PAS will not only split the opposition Malay vote - resulting in a favourable outcome to BN - it could team up with BN after the polls to dislodge the incumbent state government.