Tanjung Malim, Perak, Malaysia — The Slim state by-election will be a three-cornered fight involving two parties and one independent candidate.
The three individuals filed their candidacy at Dewan Sri Tanjung on Saturday (15 Aug) when nominations opened at 9am.
They were Barisan Nasional’s (BN) Mohd Zaidi Aziz, 43, newly-formed Parti Pejuang Tanah Air’s (Pejuang) Amir Khusyairi Mohamad Tanusi, 38, and independent candidate Santharasekaran Subramaniam, 44.
Amir Khusyairi will be contesting as an independent candidate because Pejuang has yet to be registered officially.
The formation of the party was announced by former prime minister Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad on 7 August.
Returning officer Shamsul Ridzuan Idris announced the names of the three candidates after nominations ended at 10am.
The end of nominations kickstarted the official campaigning period for the by-election which will last until midnight on 28 August, with polling day happening the day after.
Both candidates have already heated up the campaign trail in the mere two days after Nomination Day; but insiders say BN’s organised and strong election structure will give its candidate a great boost in his campaigning activities.
Amir Khusyari on the other hand has little resources and manpower to drive his campaign efficiently.
He is only campaigning with a handful of close aides and party leaders.
For Mohd Zaidi, he has a home turf advantage as he is a local and residents are already acquainted with him politically.
Amir Khusyairi however needs to gain the constituents’ trust.
The Slim state has a total of 27,139 residents comprising Malays (74 per cent), Indians (12 per cent), Chinese (10 per cent), and Orang Asli (indigenous people) (1.4 per cent).
There will be a total of 23,094 voters — or 22,815 normal voters, 277 early voters as well as two absentee voters (overseas) — who are eligible to cast their ballots in the Slim by-election.
BN has a formidable presence in the Slim state where two big Felda schemes are located — Felda Trolak and Felda Besout — the stronghold of United Malays National Organisation and Parti Islam SeMalaysia.
The two parties are under Muafakat Nasional and known to run effective election campaigns. This could signal an uphill fight for Amir Khusyairi.
He relies entirely on Parti Keadilan Nasional’s resources which have yet to be mobilised because the party is going through an internal conflict presently, where the leadership is expelling members who oppose the present leadership.
Early voting for the by-election will be slated to take place on 25 August.
The by-election is being held after the death of its four-term assemblyman Datuk Mohd Khusairi Abdul Talib on 15 July.
This election is the 12th by-election to be held since the last Malaysian general election three years ago.