PETALING JAYA: Although Pahang is having concurrent state and parliamentary elections on Nov 19, much of the attention is on the parliamentary seats as Barisan Nasional is likely to retain control of the state assembly.
In the 2018 elections, BN won 25 of the 42 state seats. The rest went to PAS and Pakatan Harapan.
However, with 14 Dewan Rakyat seats, Pahang will be the battleground for some of the hottest parliamentary contests in the country.
These include Prime Minister Ismail Sabri Yaakob’s Bera, foreign minister Saifuddin Abdullah’s Indera Mahkota, former prime minister Najib Razak’s Pekan as well as the Bentong seat, which DAP’s Wong Tack won in 2018.
In GE14, Ismail won Bera with a majority of 2,311 votes. He defeated candidates from PAS and PKR.
Ismail will be counting on his time in office and BN’s announcement that he is the coalition’s candidate for prime minister to give him a leg up.
In Indera Mahkota, PKR will be trying to retake the seat it lost through Saifuddin’s defection.
Saifuddin won the seat with a majority of over 10,000 votes but his defection to Perikatan Nasional means it will be an uphill task for him to retain the support of non-Malay voters, who account for 33% of Indera Mahkota voters.
Another hot seat is Bentong where DAP has dropped Wong in favour of former Ketari assemblyman Young Syefura Othman.
Young Syefura is expected to take on Wong, who says he will contest as an independent, and former MCA president Liow Tiong Lai, who served as Bentong MP between 2004 and 2018.
In the last round, Wong won by only 2,000 votes, and the fight for Bentong is likely to be a more crowded affair than the three-cornered fight in 2018.
Following Najib’s incarceration after the Federal Court upheld his conviction and sentence in the SRC International corruption case, there was speculation that his son Nizar would take his place and run for the Pekan seat.
However, that was quashed when Sheikh Mohamed Puzi Sheikh Ali was announced as Umno’s Pekan candidate.-FMT