Monday, September 20, 2010

Incumbent withdraws, DCM Mansor wins

By Athi Shankar

PERMATANG PAUH: The clash for the deputy chairman post in the PKR Permatang Pauh division was expected to be a match-up between David and Goliath with a possible upset looming.

However, the much anticipated political battle turned out be an anti-climax when incumbent Che Mat Hashim, 63, withdrew his candidacy at the eleventh hour.

His withdrawal led state PKR chief Mansor Othman, 60, to clinch the post unopposed.

Che Mat had faxed a letter stating his intention to withdraw from the contest to the party headquarters last night.

However, his decision did not go down well among his supporters, who thought he had an equal fighting chance to upset Mansor, the state deputy chief minister and Penanti assemblyman.

"He should not have withdrawn. We have done all the ground work for his victory," said his supporters.

Contacted later, a delighted Mansor confirmed that he had won the post unopposed. Che Mat, however, was unavailable for comment.

It is learnt that he had cited deteriorating health condition as the main reason for his withdrawal.

Pressured by Anwar

However, division insiders denied this.

According to them, Che Mat was pressured by PKR supremo Anwar Ibrahim to withdraw from the contest.

The opposition leader is the MP for Permatang Pauh while his wife and party president Dr Wan Azizah Wan Ismail is the division chairperson. Wan Azizah has been returned unopposed.

Mansor shifted his party membership to Permatang Pauh some three months ago to be closer with his constituents after relinquishing his chairman post in the Balik Pulau division.

Though he was the favourite due to his positions and closeness to Anwar, Mansor found it tough in the semi urban constituency as local sentiments against an “outsider” were strong.

Permatang Pauh division has 6,172 members eligible to vote.

Originally, the deputy chairman contest could have been a three-cornered when division secretary Roselai Muhamad, 53, joined the fray.

However, Roselai withdrew his candidacy within hours after filing the nomination papers following strong persuasion by Anwar.

Che Mat's last minute withdrawal leaves the vice-chairman contest as the only electoral battle in the division principal leadership.

A three-cornered fight is on between incumbent Zainal Abidin Saad, 44, and challengers teacher Alias Said, 46, and Seberang Perai Municipal Councillor Ramli Bulat, 59.

State PKR youth leader Amir Ghazali and Sarina Hashim retained the division youth and women's post uncontested. Sarina replaces retiring Khatijah Yahaya.

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