Wednesday, April 7, 2010

P094 : Is Dato Zaid Ibrahim Pakatan Candidate?

Sources claimed that the PKR top leadership is already preparing the campaign for Zaid

Zaid tipped to be Pakatan candidate
By Syed Jaymal Zahiid

KUALA LUMPUR, April 6 — PKR has narrowed down the list of candidates for the Hulu Selangor by-election with former Umno Law Minister Datuk Zaid Ibrahim a favourite to be selected ahead of influential local leader Datuk Dr Halili Rahmat.

Party officials told The Malaysian Insider today that the two names have been touted as the best candidates for the by-election but Zaid is said to have the upper hand.

Sources say the influential lawyer carries “national weight” despite being an outsider and is seen by PKR as the best candidate to challenge Barisan Nasional come polling day on April 25.

The fielding of Zaid indicates the party’s anticipation that the ruling coalition will field a political heavyweight.

The only name mentioned so far as a potential BN candidate is the MIC’s Datuk G. Palanivel, a former Hulu Selangor MP who had served in the constituency the size of Malacca for four terms.

Palanivel lost in Election 2008 to the late Datuk Dr Zainal Abidin Ahmad of PKR, whose death paved the way for the country’s 10th by-election since the last general election.

Sources claimed that the PKR top leadership is already preparing the campaign for Zaid (picture).

Dr Halili, a neurosurgeon from Hulu Selangor, was also tipped to be a leading contender for the party but party officials say he carries “baggage” that would hamper his chances to shine on his debut on the national political stage.

Although he belongs to PKR de facto Datuk Seri Anwar Ibrahim’s powerful inner circle, sources say his close relations with former party secretary-general Datuk Salehuddin Hashim, who quit the party recently, has placed him in a less favourable position than Zaid.

Salehuddin has been called a traitor by PKR hardcore supporters. Some have blasted him as the mastermind behind the defections of three of its lawmakers.

Any association with Salehuddin at this point would be detrimental to PKR and Pakatan Rakyat’s chances of winning the by-election and sustain the coalition’s momentum of support.

The defections have placed PKR on the defensive, with stunning revelations made by one of its former MPs, Bayan Baru’s Datuk Seri Zahrain Hashim, rattling the party’s credentials as the opposition coalition’s lynchpin.

BN and its chairman, Prime Minister Datuk Seri Najib Razak, have been using the split and defections as fodder against PR in Hulu Selangor.

“So Zaid’s chances are bigger than Dr Halili. Placing the latter can be akin to sabotaging our own chances of winning and I think Anwar has acknowledged this,” said one PKR official.

PKR is expected to decide on its candidate tomorrow while announcing the candidacy next Tuesday, two days earlier from BN.

The Malaysian Insider



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