28 February 2008

The 10 most intriguing contests......

The Edge Financial Daily team has picked the 10 most intriguing contests in GE 2008.

1. P121 LEMBAH PANTAI (55,989)

1. Datuk Seri Shahrizat Abdul Jalil (BN-Umno)

2. Nurul Izzah Anwar (PKR)

Malays: 54.5%; Chinese: 27.0%; Indians: 18.2%; Others: 0.3%

*2004: Datuk Seri Shahrizat Abdul Jalil (BN-Umno)

Total voters: 56,562; Turnout: 37,873; Majority: 15,288

Her father Datuk Seri Anwar Ibrahim was reluctant, but the pressure from supporters was too strong to resist and so the 27-year-old Puteri Reformasi Nurul Izzah will make her electoral debut. She is up against a giant in Wanita Umno deputy chief Datuk Seri Sharizat Abdul Jalil who won the seat very comfortably in 2004 after a narrow win in 1999 when the Reformasi movement was at its peak. The constituency comprises some of Malaysia's wealthiest people living in Bangsar and Pantai Hills and also its poorest in areas like Kampung Kerinchi. Anwar has been working very hard in this fairly mixed constituency in the last one year but the odds are against his daughter. Indians, who make up 20% of voters here, could be the decisive group. Will they stay with Barisan National (BN)?

*TS: (Its gonna be an uphill battle for Nurul Izzah but if the electorate thinks that Sharizat "dah lama dah jadi MP", Nurul's chances will be bright. My bet is on Nurul Izzah.)

2. P106 PETALING JAYA UTARA (76,618)

1. Datin Paduka Chew Mei Fun (BN-MCA)

2. Tony Pua Kiam Wee (DAP)

Malays: 15.4%; Chinese: 76.7%; Indians: 6.4%; Others: 1.5%

*2004: Chew Mei Fun (BN-MCA)

Total voters: 75,935; Turnout: 52,460; Majority: 13,043

This Chinese majority middle-class constituency, which includes SS2, Damansara Jaya and Damansara Utama, has traditionally been an Opposition stronghold until incumbent MCA MP Chew Mei Fun surprisingly won in 1999 as a rookie. In 2004, her majority increased against a weak DAP candidate. If the pundits are right that there will be a big swing in the vote of middle-class Chinese towards the Opposition this time, it is in seats like PJU that it will impact.Because of this, Pua, an Oxford-trained former IT entrepreneur, has put in a lot of work in the last one year to prepare for this contest. Chew is well-liked by her constituents, especially middle-aged women voters because of her grassroots work. But will the majority pick
party over the individual this time?

TS: (Tony Pua has a slight edge over Chew Mei Fun. My bet is on Tony Pua)

3. P62 SUNGAI SIPUT (46,808)

1. Datuk Seri S Samy Vellu (BN-MIC)

2. Datuk Dr Michael Jeyakumar Devaraj (PKR)

3. Nor Rizan Oon (Ind)

Malays: 36.3%; Chinese: 40.2%; Indians: 22.6%; Others: 0.8%

*2004: Datuk Seri S Samy Vellu (BN-MIC)

Total voters: 46,783; Turnout: 30,806; Majority: 10,349

MIC president Datuk Seri S Samy Vellu has been under siege in recent months after the series of Hindraf protests alleging marginalisation of the Indian/Tamil community. There have been demands for him to resign and pundits say the traditionally rock solid support of Indian voters may for once be shaken. Dr D Jeyakumar, contesting on a Keadilan ticket, is hoping to take advantage and be a giant killer in his third attempt to wrest the seat. His back may be against the wall, but never bet against Samy Vellu.

TS: (This time around its a do or die battle for Samy Vellu,not like the past election where he sailed thru with ease. Basically he owe his succeess to the Malay electorate whose philosophy,"hidup mati ku kerana UMNO" has made Samy Vellu one of the longest serving MP under 4 PMs. However,with the Indian voters rebelling this time around,things might change for the better,but this big bully has money,pengundi hantus and thugs on his side and anything can happen from now till polling day. My bet is on Dr. Jeyakumar)

4. P50 JELUTONG (61,057)

1. Dr Thor Teong Ghee (BN-Gerakan)

2. Jeff Ooi Chuan Ann (DAP)

3. Badrul Zaman P F Md Zakariah (Ind)

Malays: 23.9%; Chinese: 64.4%; Indians: 7.6%; Others: 0.02%

*2004: Lee Kah Choon (BN-Gerakan)

Total voters: 56,641; Turnout: 43,538; Majority: 7,470

From blogger to politician. Malaysia's first and most famous blogger Jeff Ooi makes the switch from punditry to the political husting. He has a big following among regular users of the Internet - but how many Jelutong voters know him? This contest will show how influential the Internet is in politics. If Ooi wins, it will be a watershed for bloggers and the Internet community. If he loses, it will show that blogging and the Internet is not that powerful a political tool in Malaysia yet.

TS: (This blogger turn politician has two disadvantage against him, firstly he is a "calon payung terjun" and secondly he is only well known among internet savvies which number less than 15% of the electorates. Jeff Ooi got to work hard and fast if he wants to win in Jelutong. My bet is on Lee Kah Choon)

5. P104 KELANA JAYA (79,648)

1. Datuk Lee Hwa Beng (BN-MCA)

2. Gwo-Burne Loh (PKR)

3. Billi Lim Peng Soon (IND)

Malays: 41.9%; Chinese: 38.7%; Indians: 17.9%; Others: 1.5%

*2004: Loh Seng Kok (BN-MCA)

Total voters: 72,518; Turnout: 50,968; Majority: 21,571

The whistleblower against a very popular MCA politician. Datuk Lee Hwa Beng switched from the state seat of Subang to contest the Kelana Jaya parliamentary seat. Under normal circumstances, this will be a walkover - but Keadilan has come up with a surprise candidate in Loh Gwo Burne, the young man who recorded controversial lawyer Datuk V K Lingam purportedly talking to a senior judge about fixing judicial appointments. The ensuing Royal Commission of Inquiry has exposed the shortcomings of the judiciary to the whole country and is an issue the Opposition hopes to exploit in this election. This contest is a contest between issues like corruption/judicial integrity and bread and butter matters like constituency services which Lee is famous for. Which matters more to Kelana Jaya voters? We will find out.

TS: (Knowing Malaysians with their 'tiada apa attitude', Loh Gwo Burne might be someone important for what he did,but to ordinary Malaysian he is just another opposition candidate testing his ground and the Lingam video issue will be a non-issue and a thing of the past. As a novice Gwo Burne got to work hard otherwise it will be a walkover for BN's Lee Hwa Beng. My bet is on Lee Hwa Beng)

6. P44 PERMATANG PAUH (58,449)

1. Datuk Pirdaus Ismail (BN-Umno)

2. Datuk Seri Dr Wan Azizah Wan Ismail (PKR)

Malays: 69.4%; Chinese: 24.5%; Indians: 5.7%; Others: 0.1%

*2004: Datuk Seri Dr Wan Azizah Wan Ismail (PKR)

Total voters: 54,041; Turnout: 45,540; Majority: 590

This is Anwar's hometown seat, and one that PKR can't afford to lose. His wife Datin Seri Dr Wan Azizah Wan Ismail clung to it in 2004 by the slimmest of majority (590 votes). Former National Mosque imam Datuk Pirdaus Ismail gets another chance to breach Anwar's stronghold. A defeat for Wan Azizah will doom Anwar and PKR to political history.

TS: (On paper thing doesnt look that good for Wan Azizah and rumours are spreading around that BN/SPR/NRD are working hand in hand to ensure Azizah's defeat, why? Read my earlier posting below. My bet is on Wan Azizah)

7. P180 KENINGAU (35,255)

1. Datuk Seri Joseph Pairin Kitingan (BN-PBS)

2. Datuk Dr Jeffrey Kitingan (PKR)

Muslim Bumis: 23.6%; Non-Muslim Bumis: 65%; Chinese: 11.4%; Others: 0.1%

*2004: Datuk Joseph Pairin Kitingan (BN-PBS) Won uncontested

Sabah's most famous political brothers square off against each other in this Kadazan heartland seat. Datuk Joseph Pairin Kitingan and Datuk Jeffrey Kitingan once stood side-by-side
20 years ago to assert Sabah rights when the party they formed Parti Bersatu Sabah (PBS) ruled the state. Many twists and turns have happened since then. PBS left and rejoined BN but Pairin is no longer chief minister. Jeffrey spent several years as an Internal Security Act (ISA) detainee and is now Sabah chief of Parti Keadilan Rakyat (PKR). A victory for Jeffrey will be a big setback for Pairin's claim as the paramount leader of the Kadazans.

TS: (The feud between two brothers is nothing more just to determine who gonna be the paramount leader of the Kadazans. As for Jeffery Kitingan he got the habit of hopping from one party to another,hopefully his stay with PKR will be his final. My bet is on Pairin Kitingan)

8. P115 BATU (69,541)

1. Lim Si Pin (BN-Gerakan)

2. Chua Tian Chang (PKR)

Malays: 44.3%; Chinese: 40.8%; Indians: 14.3%; Others: 0.6%

*2004: Ng Lip Yong @ Ng Lip Sat (BN-Gerakan)

Total voters: 67,652; Turnout: 46,228; Majority: 11,517

Former Gerakan president Datuk Seri Dr Lim Keng Yaik's son, Lim Si Pin, takes on PKR's Tian Chua, who is making his second attempt to win this seat which has Sentul as its epicentre. Tian is famous for always leading the charge in demonstrations by the Opposition. Critics say the retiring Keng Yaik has manoeuvred to hand a safe seat to his son, but PKR hopes the large Indian votes here will swing to the Opposition.

TS:(In terms of popularity Tian Chua outclass Lim Sin Pin, but does the electorates in Batu think so? Hopefully,this time around Tian Chua will triumph. My bet is on Tian Chua)

9. P138 KOTA MELAKA (84,805)

1. Wong Nai Chee (BN-MCA)

2. Sim Tong Him (DAP)

Malays: 33.49%; Chinese: 61.77%; Indians: 3.49%; Others: 1.26%

*2004: Wong Nai Chee (BN-MCA)

Total voters: 82,781; Turnout: 64,391; Majority: 219

This traditional Opposition stronghold was won by the MCA by a wafer-thin majority. The DAP has called back its strongman Sim, who skipped the 2004 elections, to try and win the seat back.

TS:(Always a DAP stronghold but due to in-fighting this seat slipped away from them. Since the pig farm issue, Ali Rustam's standing among the Chinese is at its ebb. Sim should sail with ease. My bet is on Sim Tong Him)

10. P60 TAIPING (65,455)

1. Datuk M Kayveas (BN-PPP)

2. Nga Kor Ming (DAP)

Malays: 35.2%; Chinese: 50.3%; Indians: 13.3%; Others: 1.2%

2004: Datuk M Kayveas (BN-PPP)

Total voters: 65,046; Turnout: 43,794; Majority: 2,172

After weeks of intense public quarrels between PPP and Gerakan over this seat, it was decided to maintain the status quo. As leader of a small party, Kayveas has to depend on the network and support of BN component parties like the Gerakan. Will the ill will between PPP and Gerakan supporters help sneak in the DAP?

TS: (Gerakan supporters are jumping mad with Kayveas, after all Taiping has been Gerakan stronghold since the early days of Paul Leong. How the Gerakan supporters gonna vote is a big question mark, but with Malay and Indian voters Kayveas might just pull thru. My bet is on Nga Kor Ming)

Do you still need them when you know how they behaves.....


*(TS - Tumpang Sekole)

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