KUALA LUMPUR, Sept 1 — DAP lawmaker Ng Yak Howe reportedly said that Pakatan Harapan (PH) and Perikatan Nasional (PN) have equal chances of winning the Simpang Jeram state assembly seat by-election.
The Johor executive council (exco) member told Utusan Malaysia that PH’s victory would depend on several factors, such as voter turnout and the stance held by Umno voters.
“So far, the chances of us winning is 50-50, it is still quite hard and challenging. We don’t see us in the lead right now because this still depends on the percentage of those going out to vote, if many of the Chinese voters go out then there won’t be a problem.
“Umno and Barisan Nasional (BN) supporters too, how many who will actually support the candidate because Umno supporters are also an important determinant for this by-election this time,” the Bentayan assemblyman was quoted as saying.
However, he reportedly expressed his confidence in Umno’s ability to rally its supporters and aid the PH candidate former Muar municipal council engineer Nazri Abdul Rahman there during the campaign period.
“I see the Umno leadership working hard to try to convince supporters to accept, try and explain why BN is working with PH to establish the government.
“So far, PH voters know this situation and understand why we have to work together to form the government,” he was quoted as saying.
He also reportedly admitted that PN candidate consultant surgeon Dr Mohd Mazri Yahya has the opportunity to gain the support of the majority of the Malay voters in Simpang Jeram compared to the PH candidate, but he expressed his hope that voters there will choose a local leader.
“If we look at both the candidates, certainly we want a representative who is local to the area, has more understanding of local issues and is easy for voters to meet.
“However, we also want a leader who is open-minded because this is a harmonious community so he must work hard for everyone regardless of ethnicity,” he was quoted as saying.
The Simpang Jeram state by-election will see a three-cornered contest with candidates from PH, PN and an independent (S. Jegananthan).
Simpang Jeram is a semi-rural state seat under the Bakri parliamentary constituency in northern Johor, together with Bentayan and Bukit Naning. It has 40,379 registered voters based on Election Commission (EC) data.
The EC has set polling for both Pulai parliamentary and Simpang Jeram state seats by-elections on September 9 while early voting is on September 5.
The by-election for Simpang Jeram and Pulai was called following the death of Datuk Seri Salahuddin Ayub on July 23 due to a brain haemorrhage. He was 61.
He was the elected representative for both seats.