NEWS that Umno may field National Mosque Imam Datuk Pirdaus Ismail in the hot seat of Permatang Pauh is causing ripples among the locals, Utusan Malaysia reported.
The paper said 38-year-old Pirdaus, who was born in Tasik Gelugor, Penang, was one of four names shortlisted for the seat, now held by Parti Keadilan Nasional president Datin Seri Dr Wan Azizah Ismail.
The other prospects mentioned are Permatang Pauh Umno division deputy chief Datuk Adnan Rahim, division vice-chief Datuk Arif Shah Omar Shah and division Youth chief Ahmad Nizar Hashim.
The paper added, however, that Pirdaus was neither confirming nor denying the reports.
“At the moment I am still the National Mosque Imam. I suppose (Prime Minister) Datuk Seri Abdullah Ahmad Badawi would announce the candidate soon,” the paper quoted Pirdaus as saying.
Division pro tem chief Datuk Abdul Jalil Abdul Majid said they had not proposed any names and had left the decision to Umno leaders.
In the 1999 general election, Barisan Nasional candidate Datuk Dr Ibrahim Saad lost to Dr Wan Azizah by 9,077 votes.
Berita Harian reported that the general election would not affect court cases even though many lawyers are expected to be in the fray.
Quoting Minister in the Prime Minister’s Department Datuk Seri Dr Rais Yatim, the paper said this would not be a problem since all legal firms practise a “replacement system” which allows lawyers to have legal assistants as back-ups.
The minister said the court registrar could be notified within a week if the lawyers were unable to handle a case.
However, he added, campaigning in elections was not an excuse to be absent from court.
The paper said that among the lawyers who were expected to contest in the elections were Perak DAP chairman Ngeh Koo Ham, Perak opposition head Nga Kor Ming, Batu Gajah MP Fong Po Kuan and former Teluk Intan MP M. Kulasegaran.