Wednesday, 26 June 2013

Kuala Besut ADUN dies

Kuala Besut ADUN dies, by-election may trigger change in Terengganu state govt The state assemblyman for Kuala Besut Abdul Rahman Mokhtar has died at age 55 due to lung cancer. His death triggers Malaysia's first by-election after the controversial May 5 general election.

Political observers said the by-election that must be held within 60 days could lead to a 'hung' state government and trigger a "new power equation" in the state government now led by Prime Minister Najib Razak's Umno-BN coalition.

In the recently-concluded 13th general election, Umno-BN had won control of the state government with a razor thin victory of 17 seats over the Pakatan Rakyat's 15.

Should Abdul Rahman's successor fail to defend the seat, it would lead to a situation where the Umno-BN is deadlocked against the Pakatan at 16 seats each in the state assembly.

"This by-election will be critical for Pakatan Rakyat," Opposition Leader Anwar Ibrahim told reporters at the Parliament lobby on Wednesday.

Not an easy seat to take from Umno

Abdul Rahman, who is from Prime Minister Najib Razak's Umno party, was also the Terengganu state executive councilor for Health, Family and Community development. He died at the Critical Care Unit of Hospital Sultanah Nur Zahirah in Kuala Terengganu at about 10.18 am, after having been warded for the past seven days.

Anwar acknowledged it would not be easy for Pakatan to win Kuala Besut. A career Umno politician, Abdul Rahman had won the seat with a 2,434-vote majority, polling 8.809 votes over PAS candidate Napisah Ismail, who garnered 6,375.

"Abdul Rahman has a pretty impressive majority for the seat, but I'm sure PAS and PKR will work together to challenge for this seat," said Anwar, who also extended his condolences to the late assemblyman's family.

All eyes on Kuala Besut

Indeed, all eyes will be on Kuala Besut especially with the Umno-BN and the Pakatan now deadlocked in a fierce post-election fight. Anwar and his Pakatan colleagues have refused to concede defeat, citing massive fraud and vote rigging.

Najib had claimed a 133-seats victory in Malaysia's 222-seat federal Cabinet, but Anwar and Pakatan are demanding re-elections in some 30 constituencies. Najib's Umno-BN coalition has countered by filing a similar number of election petitions. Kuala Best is not on either of the Pakatan's or the Umno-BN's list of election petitions.

Meanwhile, the Election Commission said it would hold a special meeting to set the by-election date after receiving official acknowledgement on its vacancy.

"After that, the EC will issue an official statement when the special meeting will be held. According to the State and Federal Constitutions, the by-election should be held within 60 days from the date of vacancy," said EC deputy chairman Wan Ahmad.

Terengganu was under the PAS-led government during 1999 to 2004. The chief minister then was PAS president Hadi Awang, who is also the Marang Member of Parliament.

The state fell back to Umno-BN control in the 2004 election and the current chief minister is Umno's Ahmad Said.

Malaysia Chronicle

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