Malaysia’s ruling coalition wins nine seats unopposed

February 25th, 2008 - 4:00 pm ICT by admin  

Kuala Lumpur, Feb 25 (IANS) Malaysia’s ruling coalition Barisan Nasional has bagged nine parliamentary seats and two of the 505 state legislature seats unopposed as nominations closed for the 12th general election to be held on March 8. In the 2004 general election, the coalition that that has ruled Malaysia since independence in 1957 had won 17 parliamentary and 11 state seats unopposed.

Prime Minister Abdullah Ahmad Badawi, who opted for early polls, cutting short his tenure by a year, termed the walkovers as “good news”.

Badawi hoped that the general election would be “credible, fair and democratic”, The Sun newspaper said Monday.

Badawi filed his nomination Sunday to defend his Kepala Batas parliamentary seat. He was accompanied by his wife, Jean Abdullah who said she would campaign alongside her husband.

“I will give him moral support to ensure that he leads the Barisan to a thumping victory in the election,” she said.

The two were married last year.

Indian origin Joseph Kurup, who was declared unopposed from Pensingan, was punched on the shoulder and fell as he emerged from the community centre after the returning officer made the announcement.

M. Manoharan, a Hindu Rights Action Force (Hindraf) leader currently detained under the Internal Security Act, will contest the Kota Alam Shah state seat now held by Barisan incumbent Ching Su Chen. His wife S. Pushpaneela submitted his form at the nomination centre.

Manoharan is one of the five Hindraf leaders detained for staging a protest rally on Nov 25.

Works Minister and senior Malaysian Indian leader S. Samy Vellu faces a surprise opponent in his ninth bid to parliament from Sungai Siput.

Businessman Nor Rizan Oon, 49, filed his nomination on the last day, charging Vellu with being an outsider.

Oon, who was born in Lin-tang, said Vellu was an outsider as he was born in Kluang.

“There are many unresolved matters here and we need a new leader to take care of the people,” he said.

Vellu said he was not upset by Oon’s charge, adding: “It is everybody’s democratic right to contest.”

Vellu, 71, now faces a three-way fight. His traditional rival in the fray is Michael Devraj Jeyakumar, also an ethnic Indian, who is a Parti Socialista Malaysia (PSM) central committee member. Vellu had defeated him by over 10,000 votes in 2004.

Vellu said his Malaysian Indian Congress (MIC) would woo its 250,000 non-members during the campaign.

“We have 630,000 members, of which 65 percent are voters. We are confident they will support MIC candidates and Barisan,” he told reporters after submitting his nomination papers.

A prominent ethnic Indian leader from the opposition ranks, lawyer Karpal Singh, who heads the Democratic Action Party (DAC), 68, was brought to file his nomination in a wheelchair.

Most of the contests are straight fights as the opposition parties are avoiding splitting each other’s votes in their bid to deny the Barisan its two-thirds parliamentary majority, The Sun said at the close of the nominations.

A total of 472 people are vying for 215 of the 222 seats in the Dewan Rakyat (parliament). Barisan is contesting all seats, while there are 37 independents.

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