Penang DAP undecided over fielding the old guard or new faces

GEORGE TOWN: There will always be “the old guard versus the young Turks” debates in any political party as elections loom, and Penang DAP is no exception.

The party is now embroiled in an intense negotiation involving several veteran campaigners.

Former EcoWorld deputy chief executive officer Datuk Seri S. Rajoo has been widely tipped to be among the new faces for the coming state election.

DAP, which is likely to contest 19 seats, is expected to pick the 61-year-old corporate figure to contest in the Bagan Dalam state seat that is currently held by Satees Muniandy, also from the party.

Satees’ mentor, three-term assemblyman Dr P. Ramasamy, is expected to be dropped as the party is eyeing new blood.

Having won the Prai seat in 2008, this will come as a big blow for the 74-year-old politician, who is also the state’s Deputy Chief Minister II and Penang DAP deputy chairman.

However, more political drama amongst the party’s ranks can be expected from now until nomination day for the Penang state election.

As for another two members of the old guard, or the “Grey Hair Gang” as they are now popularly called, Phee Boon Poh (Sungai Puyu) and Chong Eng (Padang Lallang), their fates have also been left hanging.

Phee, 71, is a five-term assemblyman and will be vying in his sixth election if he is selected as a candidate again.

In 2018, he retained the Sungai Puyu seat with a majority of 19,569 votes against candidates from Barisan Nasional and three other parties.

Chong, 65, may be dropped to make way for a younger candidate, too.

She first won the Batu Lanchang seat in 1995, then moved across the channel to contest Padang Lallang, which she won in 2013 and 2018. In 2018, she won the seat by 18,364 votes.

On the island, most of the DAP seats are likely to see the incumbents being fielded again.

However, the Seri Delima seat is expected to be contested by Wong Hon Wai.

He will be taking over from incumbent Syerleena Abdul Rashid, who is now the Bukit Bendera MP.

A former Air Itam assemblyman, Wong won the Bukit Bendera seat in 2018.

“We are in a difficult position this time around as candidates cannot take on parliamentary seats because the general election is over.

“As such, if you are not chosen as a state candidate, it means that you are out for the next five years,” said Wong.

Seat negotiations between Pakatan Harapan and Barisan Nasional are expected to be concluded soon, especially in the Malay-majority areas.

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Penang , DAP , elections


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