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Sunday February 27, 2011
Reports by SA’ODAH ELIAS, MARTIN CARVALHO, R.S.N. MURALI, CHRISTINA TAN, YUEN MEIKENG, ONG HAN SEAN, KHAIRUL ASHRAF KAMED and NIK NAIIZI HUSIN
TEMERLOH: The twin battles for the Kerdau and Merlimau state seats have begun with a straight contest between Barisan Nasional and PAS.
Local boys Syed Ibrahim Syed Ahmad, 44, of Barisan and Hassanuddin Salim, 43, of PAS will fight for Kerdau after they were announced as candidates at the end of nomination yesterday.
For Merlimau, it will be a duel between Barisan’s Roslan Ahmad and PAS’ Yuhaizad Abdullah.
Both seats were won by Barisan in the 2008 general election.
In Temerloh, both candidates expressed eagerness to get to work to woo the voters.
Syed Ibrahim planned to take a few hours off after the nomination to visit his family home here and obtain their blessings before hitting the campaign trail.
“I will try to go to all the areas in Kerdau as I need to feel the pulse of the people,” he said.
He also promptly showed the original copy of his degree from Al-Azhar University to the press after the nomination ended.
This was because days after he was named Barisan’s candidate, talk surfaced that he did not complete his study and that he had bought his degree.
Meanwhile, Hassanuddin, who acknowledged that Barisan had the edge, said he would give his all by starting on his campaign rounds immediately at Desa Murni in Kerdau and nearby places.
”My approach is simple. I will meet as many people as possible to persuade them to give a chance for change,” he said.
The process went smoothly with supporters from both parties observing the safety rules.
The by-election is being held following the death of Kerdau assemblyman Datuk Zaharuddin Abu Kassim on Feb 12.
March 6 will be polling day for both seats.
In Jasin, Roslan said he would go all out to woo as many voters as possible during the campaign period.
Besides standing on his own merits as a winnable candidate, he said that coming from a family with a political background in Merlimau would be an added advantage in wooing voters.
Yuhaizad called on voters to support him so he could become the first Malay opposition voice in the state assembly.
The Merlimau by-election follows the death of Datuk Mohd Hidhir Abu Hasan from a heart attack on Jan 20.
There was a carnival-like atmosphere in the new Merlimau township with supporters from both sides gathering long before the 6.30am deadline when police closed the road leading to the nomination centre.
Local residents gathered along the roads that were decked with the respective party flags to catch a glimpse of national political leaders who came to support their respective candidates for the by-election.
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