GE15: Big boys stuck in limbo

PETALING JAYA: Several political heavyweights are having to brace for difficult days as the 15th General Election approaches.

They are unsure if they will get to stand in the constituencies of their choice.

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Several incumbents – from Barisan Nasional, Perikatan Nasional and Pakatan Harapan – may have to move from their seats to give way to others while some have fallen out of favour and will have to look for a different ticket to contest on.

One such heavyweight is controversial 74-year-old MP Datuk Seri Tajuddin Abdul Rahman.

The Pasir Salak incumbent, who first won the seat in 2008, does not look likely to be a candidate, especially after being dropped from the Umno supreme council.

His party membership was suspended on Oct 1 for his outbursts against party president Datuk Seri Dr Ahmad Zahid Hamidi.

The controversial figure is holding out hope that the “Umno top five” will listen to the grassroots and endorse him for the Pasir Salak seat again.

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“As Pasir Salak Umno division head, I started work long before dissolution to ensure Barisan could win here.

“All the preparations are done.

“I do not want to brag but the 117 wings in this division unanimously want me to be the candidate,” added Tajuddin, who was also dropped as a possible candidate for the Indonesian ambassador’s job earlier this year.

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Pakatan’s incumbent Klang MP Charles Santiago is in a similar predicament.

Word is rife that he is being replaced and the three-term MP, who has increased his majority each time since 2008, is dumbstruck.

“I am not sure who is making up these stories about me being dropped.

“I have strong support here from both the Chinese and Indian communities,” he said.

The Chinese and Indians make up more than 70% of the voters in the constituency.

“Perhaps it is some people who want the seat. I have done my work as MP and my track record speaks for itself,” he said.

Santiago said there was no question of him contesting as an independent as he was a party man.

There have been reports that either incumbent Kota Kemuning assemblyman V. Ganabatirau or Seri Kembangan assemblyman Ean Yong Hian Wah might take over the Klang seat.

According to a DAP source, it would be foolish to replace Santiago.

“Why do you want to field another candidate whose competency is unknown when you have a good candidate?” he asked.

Santiago won the Klang parliamentary seat with a 78,773-vote majority in 2018.

Parti Sosialis Malaysia president Dr Michael Jeyakumar Devaraj is another giant killer who is in the dark. He is again locked in an imbroglio with Pakatan, which has agreed in principle to give PSM three seats but has yet to make anything official.

Dr Jeyakumar beat MIC Tun Samy Vellu for the Sungai Siput parliamentary seat under the PKR ticket in 2008 before defending it in 2013.

But in 2018, PKR refused to let him contest under the PSM banner and fielded then Hutan Melintang assemblyman S. Kesavan against him.

Kesavan won in a four-cornered fight against Dr Jeyakumar, MIC’s Datuk Seri SK Devamany and PAS’ Dr Ishak Ibrahim.

Sungai Siput is again building up to be a big fight with MIC president Tan Sri M. Vigneswaran announcing that he would be standing there.

“In principle, they (Pakatan) have accepted but we have yet to receive anything definite.

“They have been accommodating us as they know the work we have done with the communities at the grassroots levels,” said Dr Jeyakumar.

“We have expressed our interest in the Sungai Siput seat as one of three seats.

“We are open to contesting anywhere for the other two.”

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