By CHRISTINA CHIN and IAN McINTYRE
PETALING JAYA: Permatang Pauh Umno secretary Rohaizat Othman will be Barisan Nasional’s candidate in the Permatang Pasir by-election, while Penang PAS commissioner Mohd Salleh Man will contest for Pakatan Rakyat.
Rohaizat, a 38-year-old legal advisor, said he was surprised to have been chosen but was confident of wresting the Permatang Pasir state seat for Barisan.
“The constituency may be a PAS stronghold but in politics nothing is impossible,” he said in PERMATANG PAUH.
“I will work hard to ensure victory and with the support of coalition members, I am sure we can succeed,” he said before thanking Barisan leaders for their faith in him.
Asked about his campaign strategy, the Universiti Islam Antarabangsa graduate, who is also a director of a printing company, said Barisan had “good election machinery” and would adopt a “humble” attitude.
“We will visit each and every voter and ask him to give us a chance to serve,” he said.
He was named the coalition’s candidate at the Barisan by-election centre in Permatang Pasir by Deputy Prime Minister and Barisan deputy chairman Tan Sri Muhyiddin Yassin on Friday.
Rohaizat, the Permatang Pauh Umno secretary and Mengkuang Titi branch head, has been a party member since 1996.
He is married to University Sains Malaysia lecturer Khairulniza Abdul Razak. The couple have a nine-year-old son.
This will be the eighth by-election since last year’s general election. The seat fell vacant following the death of its assemblyman Mohd Hamdan Abdul Rahman of PAS on July 31. Nomination has been fixed for Aug 17 with polling on Aug 25.
Meanwhile PAS candidate Mohd Salleh, an ulama, assumed the top party post for Penang last year. He is a graduate of Universiti Malaya and holds a BA in Syariah, party members said in BUKIT MERTAJAM.
A close friend of Mohd Hamdan, the mild mannered Salleh was announced as the Pakatan candidate by PAS president Datuk Seri Abdul Hadi Awang before a packed house at the party’s service centre in the constituency.
Salleh was chosen ahead of the popular grassroots leader Mohamad Sabu, who had declined from contesting.
Salleh was also previously the party chief in Tasek Gelugor and the state PAS Youth head before he was appointed state commissioner last year.
He had lost in the 12th general election in March last year against Datuk Jasmin Mohamed from the Barisan Nasional for the Sungai Dua state seat.
Salleh is now a religious school administrator but had previously served as a mosque officer, a religious speaker and a company director.
Permatang Pasir is one of three seats in the Permatang Pauh parliamentary constituency, and was the sole PAS state seat in Penang.
In the March 2008 general election, Mohd Hamdan secured 11,004 votes to defeat Barisan’s Ahmad Sahar Shuib by a 5,433-vote majority.
The Permatang Pasir constituency has 20,290 voters, including one postal voter, comprising Malay (72.36%), Chinese (25.85%), Indian (1.63%) and others (0.16%).
The by-election may see a three-cornered fight as motivational speaker Kamarul Ramizu Idris, 42, has said that he is interested in standing as an independent.
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