BN’s gamble of fielding new faces pays off

Left to right: Khaidirah, Kalsom and Rauf. Left to right: Khaidirah, Kalsom and Rauf.

MELAKA: Barisan Nasional’s gamble of fielding new faces paid off after it secured an emphatic victory in the Melaka state election.

Of its candidates for the 28 seats, 24 were new faces.

The coalition won 21 seats in Saturday’s polls, with Pakatan Harapan taking five and Perikatan Nasional, two.

Among the winners is actress Datuk Khaidirah Abu Zahar, the incoming Rim assemblyman.

Fondly known as Dira, the 37-year-old from Umno managed to secure a majority of 1,874 votes in a three-cornered fight against Parti Pribumi Bersatu Malaysia (Perikatan) and PKR (Pakatan).

Khaidirah, the daughter of the eighth chief minister of Melaka Datuk Seri Abu Zahar Ithnin, is known for her roles in movies like Tahajud Cinta, Chow Kit, Longkai and Dahlia.

Another interesting “new face” under the Umno’s banner is Datuk Kalsom Nordin in Pengkalan Batu, a 68-year-old grandmother who defeated the controversial incumbent Datuk Norhizam Hassan Baktee, who is noted for the moniker Hulk after a heated exchange with villagers in Bukit Beruang, in a closely fought five-cornered fight.

Kalsom triumphed in the “granny vs Hulk” battle with a razor-thin majority of 131 votes.

Norhizam, who contested as an independent, only managed 1,218 votes and lost his deposit.

The Melaka state election also saw state Umno chief Datuk Seri Ab Rauf Yusoh making his debut as an assemblyman after narrowly beating his closest contender, the de facto Deputy Law Minister Datuk Mas Ermieyati Samsudin of Perikatan, for the Tanjung Bidara seat, with a slim majority of 364 votes.

The three-way fight also featured Zainal Hassan of Pakatan.

Meanwhile, Perikatan’s victory in two seats – Bemban and Sungai Udang – were also won by new faces who are doctors.

Bersatu’s Dr Mohd Yadzil Yaakub successfully contested in the Bemban seat, which was traditionally held by Chinese leaders.

Dr Mohd Yadzil was in a five-cornered fight against then state DAP chairman Datuk Tey Kok Kiew, Barisan’s Datuk Koh Chin Han and two independents.

The doctor secured 4,211 votes against his closest rival Koh who garned 3,883 votes.

In Sungai Udang, Bersatu’s Dr Mohd Aleef Yusof, attached to a local hospital in Melaka, garnered 6,789 votes against Barisan’s 6,259, Pakatan’s 2,035 and an independent candidate who polled only 471 votes.

Pakatan’s first-time candidate Leng Chau Yen, 37, won with a 7,778-vote majority in Bandar Hilir in a four-cornered fight against Barisan’s Lee Kah Sean, who received 1,313 votes, while the Perikatan and independent candidates took 634 and 159 votes respectively.

Leng’s majority is the highest among all 112 candidates in the state election.

She was the former political secretary to Tey, who yesterday took responsibility for DAP’s poor performance in the state election by resigning as its Melaka chief.

He had moved from his Bandar Hilir seat to contest in Bemban and lost in the latest round.

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