WITH nomination day for the Tanjung Piai by-election looming, the question on everybody’s mind is who would be the likely candidates.
Both Pakatan Harapan and Barisan Nasional have been coy about who they will field in the by-election next month.
PH, which will be represented by Parti Pribumi Bersatu Malaysia (Bersatu), is expected to name its candidate on Oct 30, two days before nomination day on Nov 2.
Tanjung Piai Bersatu chief Karmaine Sardini said the division had submitted three names to be considered as candidates to the PH leadership.
Karmaine, a teacher-turned-architect, is believed to be among the names being considered although he was non-committal when pressed.
“Maybe I am. Maybe I am not,” said Karmaine when asked if he was one of the names in the list.
He said this after attending an event in SMK Teluk Kerang on Sunday.
Another possible candidate being considered by PH is believed to be Norma Mohamed, the mother of the late Datuk Dr Md Farid Md Rafik.
Norma is no stranger to politics, especially in Tanjung Piai.
A Wanita chief for the Tanjung Piai Umno division, she served for more than 30 years before joining Bersatu.
She is said to have strong support from the grassroots.
Pekan Nenas Timur Bersatu branch chief Darwis Salleh is another name being mentioned.
Not much is known about Darwis other than that he is the older brother of former Kukup assemblyman Suhaimi Salleh and is said to be one of Bersatu’s strong backers.
As for BN, the most important issue the coalition has to answer is whether to follow tradition and allow MCA to contest or give the seat to Umno.
Prior to the 14th General Election last year, the constituency was held by MCA.
MCA’s Datuk Wee Jeck Seng, a former deputy minister under BN, won the seat for two consecutive terms in 2008 and 2013. Former MCA president Tan Sri Ong Ka Ting had also won the parliamentary seat for one term in 2004.
However, Tanjung Piai is a Malay-majority seat.
In GE14, the total number of registered voters in the constituency was 53,528.
Of the figure, Malays comprise 56.8 per cent; Chinese, 41.64 per cent; Indians, 1.01 per cent, and others, 0.55 per cent.
Umno branches in the Tanjung Piai division have urged the party leadership to name an Umno candidate for the by-election and their preferred candidate is division chief Datuk Jefridin Atan.
However, MCA is not backing down, with its president Datuk Dr Wee Ka Siong saying the party is not short of candidates for the by-election.
Should MCA contest, one of the names that has been mentioned is the party’s Tanjung Piai deputy chief Tan Eng Meng.
In GE14, Tan contested the Pekan Nenas state seat but lost to Yeo Ting Siong of DAP.
According to Jefridin, BN is expected to name its candidate on Oct 28.