Chini by-election a walk in the park for BN man

Zainal Epi
BN's Mohd Sharim Md Zain gets his temperature checked before entering the nomination centre in Pekan June 20, 2020. ― Bernama pic

COMMENTARY, June 20 — Mohd Sharim Mohd Zain is expected to have an easy win in the upcoming Chini state by-election in Pahang.

The Barisan Nasional (BN) candidate is up against businessman Datuk Tengku Zainul Hisham Hussin who was Pekan Bersatu division deputy chairman and went against his party’s line not to contest the by-election; and 49-year-old blogger Mohd Shukri Mohd Ramli, 49. The latter two are seen by some Chini voters as just trying their luck, especially Tengku Zainul.

The 64-year-old is known to be friends with Pekan MP Datuk Seri Najib Razak. The former Umno leader is expected to launch Tengku Zainul’s Muay Thai event scheduled next month.

To some Chini locals, Tengku Zainul does not appear to have any serious political ideology that would explain taking on the BN even as some others read his candidacy as a reflection of Bersatu’s internal fight between the current leadership and co-founder Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad’s faction. But then some locals also say this is not the case as Tengku Zainul was not close to Dr Mahathir.

To those in the last group, Tengku Zainul is just a lone politician trying to make a name for himself.

The third candidate Mohd Shukri is similarly seen as throwing in his hat in an attempt to seek publicity even though this is the blogger’s third election attempt in a row to contest in Chini. He started doing so in Election 2013.

Mohd Shukri was known as supporter of PKR president Datuk Seri Anwar Ibrahim, but the locals today do not see him representing Anwar’s reform agenda or philosophy.

Given the choice of candidates, it is no surprise that Chini locals see Tengku Zainul as the likeliest winner and his two opponents losing their electoral deposits too.

The Chini state by-election was called following the death of its assemblyman Datuk Seri Abh Bakar Harun, 60, from BN, who polled more than 10,000 votes against PAS’ Mohd Fadhil Noor Abdul Karim and PKR’s Mohamad Razali Ithnain.

The Chini constituency has 21,085 voters under 13 polling stations.

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