GEORGE TOWN: Many Penang DAP assemblymen and MPs are expected to decline candidacies for the general election, creating openings for active DAP members.
One of the DAP candidates currently in the spotlight is Bukit Bendera MP Zairil Khir Johari.
There is speculation that he will be asked to move from his parliamentary seat to a state seat.
“I heard the rumour too. Maybe it is because I was asked to look after Tanjung Bungah, with Teh Yee Cheu deciding to leave DAP after Parliament is dissolved,” said Zairil, referring to the two-term assemblyman who announced late last year his decision to leave the party.
But some political pundits doubt that Zairil could be a viable candidate after being the subject of “steamy politics” since 2014.
Grainy photos and videos purportedly depicting him in cosy situations with DAP Socialist Youth national executive councillor Dyana Sofya Mohd Daud surfaced on social media, but both denied being the subjects depicted.
With Zairil likely to go to Tanjung Bungah, city councillor Syerleena Abdul Rashid is likely to contest in Bukit Bendera.
“She looks like the most likely candidate for now,” said another councillor, who declined to be named.
Syerleena, 37, said her current focus was to serve at the local government level.
There are other many potential candidates among city councillors such as Chris Lee, Ong Ah Teong and Joseph Ng.
Teh said it was a big difference from 2008, when at least six candidates declined to contest for fear of losing.
“We had a tough time finding members willing to stand for elections. Today, many are clamouring to be fielded as they know their chances of winning are bright,” he said.
A new face is also expected for the Pulau Tikus state seat since assemblyman Yap Soo Huey said she would not be contesting.
It is believed that more new faces are also expected in the Pengkalan Kota and Paya Terubong state seats on the island and Berapit on mainland.
Lee is staying mum on his prospects of moving from the city council to the state assembly, a traditional path taken by many politicians.
“There are rumours, but I prefer to wait for the official call,” said Lee, who has served in the council since July 2013 and now sits in four committees.
Ong and Ng, both senior city councillors chairing standing committees, said they would leave it to the top leadership to decide if they would be chosen to stand.