GEORGE TOWN: It will be a crowded field in Penang as almost 150 candidates from nine political parties will be eyeing for the 13 parliamentary and 40 state seats.
This is believed to be a record in the electoral history of Penang.
There will be multi-cornered fights in most of the seats with independents joining the fray.
Besides Barisan Nasional, Pakatan Harapan and PAS, the parties contesting here are Malaysian United Party (MUP), Penang Front Party (PFP), Parti Rakyat Malaysia (PRM), Parti Cinta Malaysia (PCM), Parti Sosialis Malaysia (PSM) and People’s Alternative Party (PAP).
A group affiliated with PAS, Dewan Himpunan Penyokong PAS, which is open to non-Muslims, will field three candidates.
They are Datuk Dr Vikneswaran Muniandy in the Batu Uban state seat, Kumaravelu Arumugam (Bukit Tambun state seat) and Jaya Kumar Balakrishan (Batu Kawan parliamentary seat).
Barisan Nasional and Pakatan Harapan will throw their hats into the ring in all the seats.
PAS is eyeing six parliamentary and 19 state seats. The MUP is contesting in five parliamentary and 20 state seats, PFP in one parliamentary and 13 state seats, PRM (two parliamentary and 19 state seats), PCM (one parliamentary and one state seat), PSM is eyeing just one seat (Sungai Pinang) and PAP in Perai and Jawi state seats.
A check showed that there would be six-cornered fight in the Machang Bubuk state seat in the Bukit Mertajam parliamentary constituency and five-cornered fight in the Sungai Pinang state seat within the Jelutong parliamentary constituency.
But there could be more with independent candidates joining in.
There would also be four-cornered fights in over 30 constituencies; it would become five-cornered with the inclusion of independent candidates.
Penang Election Commission office director Md Fuad Mohd Sherif said they had sold 617 nomination forms. Of this, 146 nomination forms were for parliamentary constituencies while the remaining 471 nomination forms were for state constituencies.
Political analysts believe most of the independent candidates would lose their deposits.
Those who fail to secure the minimum one-eighth or 12.5% of the ballots cast will lose their deposits which is RM10,000 for parliamentary seats and RM5,000 for state seats.
In the last general election, 32 candidates lost their deposits in Penang.
Six of them stood in parliamentary seats and the rest in state seats. The six comprised four independent candidates and two from PCM.
For the state seats, 18 were independent candidates, three from PCM, three from Barisan Nasional, one from Parti Kesejahteraan Insan Tanah Air (Kita) and one from PAS.