Experts: Expect lots of fireworks in run up to by-election

KLANG: The result in the Sungai Kandis by-election may not be very much in doubt, but expect lots of mudslinging from the Barisan Nasional during the two-week campaigning period.

Political observers said Umno candidate Datuk Lokman Noor Adam would certainly question the promises made by Pakatan Harapan in its GE14 manifesto, making this his campaign thrust.

They said the vociferous politician would also question Pakatan’s alleged disrespect towards the Yang di-Pertuan Agong and Malay rights and language.

Political analyst Dr Muhammad Asri Mohd Ali reckoned that such an approach by Lokman might not sit well with the Sungai Kandis voters.

“Lokman and his image is not suitable for the Sungai Kandis constituency which has a large number of middle-class voters and professionals,” he said when contacted.

He said Barisan’s choice of candidate was also not right as Lokman, an Umno supreme council member, was from Johor.

Dr Muhammad Asri said Barisan could expect “nothing significant” from the by-election given that Pakatan had won a very comfortable majority in the Selangor Legislative Assembly.

Furthermore, he said people were still very euphoric over the change of government at Federal level after 61 years.

“Another thing is that it is still the honeymoon period after the general election with the new government not even reaching its 100th day in office yet.

“And generally nothing much will change from the status quo during the honeymoon period,” he said.

Dr Muhammad Asri said another glaring factor was that PAS was not contesting and because of this the Islamist party’s supporters would be looking for an alternative candidate to cast their votes.

He said Pakatan Harapan candidate, local boy Zawawi Ahmad Mughni who is a religious teacher and an imam’s son, might appeal more to PAS supporters than Lokman.

USM’s Dr Sivamurugan Pandian said Barisan should have abstained from contesting in the Sungai Kandis by-election due to the odds stacked against it.

He said this was what Barisan did during the Chempaka (Kelantan) and Bukit Gelugor (Penang) by-elections after PAS’ Kelantan Mentri Besar Datuk Seri Nik Abdul Aziz Nik Mat and DAP chairman Karpal Singh died in 2015 and 2014 respectively.

“If they did that and said it was out of respect for the late Mat Shuhaimi Shafiei, people would have appreciated Barisan for it,” said Dr Sivamurugan.

The Sungai Kandis state seat fell vacant after the death of assemblyman Mat Shuhaimi Shafie on July 2 from lymphoma.

He won the Sungai Kandis seat with a 12,480-vote majority in GE14.

Polling is on Aug 4.

Sungai Kandis , by election