KUALA KANGSAR (THE STAR/ASIA NEWS NETWORK) - Party supporters started gathering on Sunday (June 5) outside the Dewan Jubli Perak to accompany their respective candidates to the nomination centre for the by-elections in Sungai Besar in Selangor state and Kuala Kangsar in Perak state.
Under heavy police presence in Kuala Kangsar, supporters of Barisan Nasional (BN), Pakatan Harapan, and Parti Islam SeMalaysia (PAS) assembled at separate ends of the road early on Sunday, leading to the nomination hall.
PAS supporters were first to arrive, carrying large party flags and chanting praises of Prophet Muhammad.
The green wave marched from the Malay College Kuala Kangsar and arrived at the police blockade 200m to the left of the nomination centre around 8.15am.
In tow was the party's candidate, Dr Najihatussalehah Ahmad, who was clad in green and accompanied by party president Datuk Seri Abdul Hadi Awang.
In Sungai Besar, PAS supporters numbered several hundred. They staged a march to the centre.
Back in Kuala Kangsar, Amanah's bright orange flags could be seen in the distance five minutes after PAS', with key Pakatan Harapan leaders present to show their support for its candidate, Dr Ahmad Termizi Ramli.
Dr Ahmad, who was clad in a white baju Melayu and orange samping, was accompanied by his wife, Amanah deputy president Salahuddin Ayub, Democratic Action Party (DAP) secretary-general Lim Guan Eng, Parti Keadilan Rakyat vice-president Rafizi Ramli, Perak DAP adviser Ngeh Koo Ham, and other Pakatan leaders.
Hundreds of BN supporters greeted the entourage that marched from its command centre in Safari Resort to the nomination centre at 8.45am.
Their candidate Datin Mastura Mohd Yazid, who could not come as she is undergoing her Iddah (mourning period), was represented by her four sons.
They were accompanied by state Mentri Besar Zambry Abd Kadir, Umno vice-president Hishammuddin Hussein and Wanita Umno chief Shahrizat Jalil.
The entourage led by Dr Zambry immediately made their way to the centre.
Malaysian Chinese Assocation (MCA) president Liow Tiong Lai led a 1,000-strong troupe over to the Sri Bernam community hall, the venue for Sunday's nomination for the Sungai Besar by-election.
Earlier, 1km away from the nomination centre, six buses carrying MCA members arrived from the constituency.
Joining the march was Youth chief Chong Sin Woon and vice-president Chua Tee Yong, together with other local leaders.
Along the journey, shouts of "Hidup BN, Hidup MCA (long live BN, long live MCA)" could be heard with several chorus of Inilah Barisan Kita, a patriotic tune unofficially adopted as a BN marching song.
"It has been a long time since we have seen MCA so spirited," said a member.
He added that since support for the party greatly dwindled in the last two general elections, there was a downcast mood in many of its gatherings.
The entourage arrived at the nomination centre at 8.15am, and was joined by the Umno contingent led by Deputy Prime Minister Ahmad Zahid Hamid and party secretary-general Tengku Adnan Tengku Mansor.
The candidate for BN is Budiman Mohd Zohdi, who is also the Sungai Panjang assemblyman.
The PAS candidate is Meru assemblyman Abdul Rani Osman, while Parti Amanah Negara's candidate is Azhar Abdul Shukur.