PORT DICKSON - Parti Islam SeMalaysia (PAS) is fielding former Malaysian air force officer Mohd Nazari Mokhtar as its candidate, who will face off against political giant Datuk Seri Anwar Ibrahim in the Port Dickson by-election.
The announcement was made by PAS deputy president Tuan Ibrahim Tuan Man, who described the 57-year-old candidate as an impressive all-rounder.
"I would like to announce Lieutenant-Colonel (retired) Mohd Nazari Mokhtar to represent PAS in this by-election," he said at an open-air rally in the Negeri Sembilan town on Thursday (Sept 27).
Mr Nazari, Mr Tuan Ibrahim said, holds a Masters in Defence and Strategy Studies from Bangladesh's Islamic University of Technology and a diploma in Aerospace and Security Management from the Royal Australian Air Force.
The Islamist party is seen as fielding Mr Mohd Nazari to give him an edge against Mr Anwar, as the Port Dickson federal constituency has military camps with thousands of voting soldiers.
The previous Member of Parliament, Datuk Danyal Balagopal Abdullah, who held the post for ruling Parti Keadilan Rakyat (PKR), was a retired first admiral.
The by-election is being called after Mr Danyal controversially stepped down to allow PKR's president-elect Anwar to contest the seat.
Umno had announced it would boycott the contest, saying that the seat was vacated to "fulfil the political ambitions of one person".
Said PAS vice-president Iskandar Samad on Thursday: "Remember the 'Kajang move' in 2014? A seat was made vacant just to make way for an individual (Anwar) to become the Selangor Menteri Besar... And now, another seat is made vacant because someone wants to be a Prime Minister.
"This a black dot in the nation's democracy in, this election should not have happened. When we're faced with this, we have to fight. How can we give it for free? Even though we would not win, we need to give a strong message to PH (Pakatan Harapan) that what they did, did not go well with the people."
The Kajang Move was engineered to oust then-Selangor Menteri Besar Khalid Ibrahim from his post, which triggered the Kajang by-election.
But Mr Anwar was blocked from contesting in Kajang after he was charged with a second sodomy accusation. His wife Dr Wan Azizah Ismail became the PKR candidate and won the state poll.
But it was Datuk Seri Azmin Ali, the PKR deputy president, who later became the Selangor chief minister.
Meanwhile, in a surprising move on Thursday, controversial former Negeri Sembilan menteri besar Isa Samad said he too plans to join the Port Dickson race as an independent.
Mr Isa, who told reporters he quit Umno two days ago, was also former chairman for scandal plagued national land development agency Felda.
Others who were expected to stand include independent candidate Stevie Chan Keng Leong and a contestant from small Parti Rakyat Malaysia Ahmad Kamaruddin.