NAJIB Razak and his new best friend, Abdul Hadi Awang, will face contests in their seats in Pahang and Terengganu but their challengers are unlikely to be Pakatan Harapan heavyweights.
PH is targeting seats held by Barisan Nasional big guns in the next general election, among which are Prime Minister Najib’s Pekan seat, which he scraped through with just 241 votes in 1999.
Amanah communications director Khalid Samad told The Malaysian Insight that this was what was decided during seat negotiations among the four parties in PH.
“This is what we have agreed on. We will take them on, one-by-one,” said Khalid.
While the seat allocations have been fixed, the opposition coalition has yet to decide on the candidates.
PH announced that Bersatu will contest in 52 parliamentary seats in the peninsula, PKR (51), DAP (35) and Amanah (27).
Bersatu, led by former prime minister Dr Mahathir Mohamad, will pit its candidate against Najib while a PKR candidate will challenge Deputy Prime Minister Ahmad Zahid Hamidi at Bagan Datok in Perak.
The Marang seat in Terengganu, which is now being held by PAS president Hadi, is expected to be contested by Amanah.
Likewise, DAP’s candidate will be challenging MCA president Liow Tiong Lai in Bentong.
In Marang, the Amanah candidate rumoured to take on Hadi is none other than the nephew of the president, Miqdad Zakaria.
However, chairman of PH Terengganu, who is also the state Amanah chairman, Raja Bahrin Shah, declined to comment.
He said Amanah Terengganu has already identified younger leaders to be put forward as candidates, adding that the candidates will be announced at a later date.
There is also talk that Hadi may not defend his Marang seat in GE14, he said.
“If he doesn’t stand, there is a big chance that his son, Khalil Abdul Hadi, will be made a candidate.
“Whatever the case, we are ready to place our candidate in Marang.”
In the last elections, Hadi defeated the BN candidate Yahya Khatib Mohamad by an impressive 5,124 votes.
In Pekan, the Bersatu grassroots leader there, Abdul Rahman Mohd Nor, has voiced his hopes of contesting the seat.
In 1999, Najib, who was the then education minister retained the Pekan seat by a margin of 241 votes. Najib polled 13,148 votes while his PAS rival, Ramli Mohamed, garnered 12,907 votes.
However, PH is up for a tough fight this time after Najib won by 35,613 votes over PKR candidate Mohd Fariz Abd Talib in the 13th general election.
Bersatu is hoping that Dr Mahathir’s influence will be able to sway the votes from Felda areas – BN’s stronghold.
In Bentong, DAP is expected to field veteran leader Wong Tack to challenge Liow once again.
In the last polls, Liow won by a razor-thin 379 votes. According to DAP sources, Wong is expected to run in the seat “unless there are last-minute changes”.
This time, DAP is hoping to capture the support of Felda voters who make up 17%, or 10,986, of the voters in GE13.
That time, DAP only managed to secure 3,326 votes.
Sources told The Malaysian Insight that Liow has served his Felda constituents extremely well over the past five years.
“They are like children for Liow Tiong Lai because they saved him in the last elections,” said political analyst Hisommuddin Bakar.
In Bagan Datoh, a PKR candidate will take on Zahid again. At the last elections, PKR’s Madhi Hassan was defeated by Zahid by 2,108 votes.
According to sources, PKR is expected to field a new candidate to fight Zahid.