ALOR SETAR: It was a reciprocal move that underlines the new “unity” political landscape – just as Pakatan Harapan pulled out of the Tioman election and even joined hands with Barisan Nasional in campaigning, Barisan has likewise pulled out of the Padang Serai election to make way for Pakatan.
Datuk C. Sivarraajh, the initial Barisan candidate, said he was pulling out on the orders of the coalition leadership.
“There is no interest more important than that of the party.
“However, I appreciate the support given to me by locals these past three years and I will continue to serve them.
“I may not be able to solve the big issues, but I will help whenever and wherever possible,” he added.
With the withdrawal of Barisan from the contest for the Padang Serai parliamentary seat, the battle has now been narrowed down to a four-cornered fight between Pakatan, Perikatan Nasional, Pejuang, and an independent.
Dr Mohamad Sofee Razak, 47, from PKR will contest on the Pakatan ticket.
The lawyer said he would be promoting the unity government led by Prime Minister Datuk Seri Anwar Ibrahim.
“I do want to make a change here and really help the people as well as contribute in Parliament,” he added.
Mohamad Sofee said with Barisan pulling out of the race, he would meet MIC and coalition leaders in Padang Serai to gain their trust.
“Now, in our final leg of campaigning, we will focus on Malay voters in our area,” he said.
Perikatan’s Datuk Azman Nasrudin, from Bersatu, is Kedah’s agriculture, food industries, plantation industries, commodities, transport and Indian community affairs committee chairman and also Sidam state assemblyman.
The other candidates in this election are Pejuang’s Hamzah Abdul Rahman and independent candidate Sreanandha Rao. Warisan candidate Mohd Bakhri Hashim had earlier announced he was pulling out. PKR will be defending the seat for Pakatan after its incumbent MP M. Karupaiya died before polling day on Nov 19.
The Padang Serai constituency in Kedah that spans 343 sq km has 133,870 voters with a breakdown of 65,586 men and 68,284 women.
While the constituency’s western border, where Padang Serai town is located, is shared with Penang’s North Seberang Prai District, the rest of the land here is mainly made up of oil palm plantations.
The majority of the voters fall under the age group of 21 to 30 (29.1%), followed by those between the ages of 31 to 40, who make up 19.7% of the total voters.
There are 62.6% Malay voters at 83,841, followed by 19.2% Indian voters at 25,687, 17.6% Chinese voters at 23,600 and 0.6% others at 742.