KUALA LUMPUR: Political heavyweight Zulhasnan Rafique (pic), the Barisan Nasional candidate for the Setiawangsa parliamentary seat, arrived early with a massive entourage at the nomination centre in Stadium Titiwangsa here.
Zulhasnan was accompanied by party colleague Ahmad Fauzi Zahari, who won the seat in GE13.
“Ahmad Fauzi will have a big a role in our campaign in Setiawangsa as we need his experience and expertise to improve our performance and retain the seat,” Zulhasnan said.
Zulhasnan, a former Cabinet minister and Malaysian ambassador to the United States, is making a comeback in Setiawangsa, which he won in 2004 and 2008.
He was called back to contest there last month and resigned from his position as ambassador last week.
It is noteworthy that Barisan has never lost Setiawangsa.
The ruling coalition’s supporters gathered as early as 7.30am before marching to the stadium an hour later carring flags and banners.
Meanwhile, on the Opposition side, PKR’s Nik Nazmi Nik Ahmad, 36, gathered at 8.15am with his large entourage, carrying a banner with the slogan “Bangkit Anak Muda Bina Semula Negara” (Arise, youth, and rebuild the nation).
This will be the first time Nik Nazmi is contesting in Setiawangsa, having left the Seri Setia state seat which he has held since 2008.
That year, he emerged on the political scene by winning Seri Setia by a 2,863-vote majority against Barisan’s Seripah Noli Syed Hussin.
He retained it in GE13, beating Abdul Halim Samad of Barisan with an increased 4,663-vote majority.
At 9am, Zulhasnan was the first to register at the nomination centre, followed by Nik Nazmi and PAS candidate Ubaid Abd Akla.
This is the first time Ubaid, 31, is contesting for PAS.
There were no interruptions throughout the nomination process and the crowd left at about 11.30am.