KKB by-election: Local candidates should be fielded

Local candidate is more familiar with the ins and outs of the needs and desires of voters.

24 Apr 2024 01:23pm
Local candidate provides an advantage to the competing parties in the Kuala Kubu Baharu state assembly by-election on May 11.
Local candidate provides an advantage to the competing parties in the Kuala Kubu Baharu state assembly by-election on May 11.

SHAH ALAM - A local candidate is seen to have an advantage and is perceived to be capable of adding value to political parties to win the Kuala Kubu Baharu state assembly by-election on May 11.

Universiti Teknologi MARA (UiTM) Seremban Administrative Science and Policy Studies Faculty Political Science senior lecturer Dr Ariff Aizuddin Azlan did not dismiss the possibility that the candidate to be fielded this time has a local background because they have an advantage in the social structure of voters in Kuala Kubu Baharu.

"The local candidate is more familiar with the ins and outs of the needs and desires of voters compared to external candidates, who require time to become more compatible with local voters.

"Rumours indicate that the status quo remains unchanged, where the candidate to be fielded is from DAP. Since this is only a by-election, it does not change the leadership at the federal and state levels.

"However, the outcome of this by-election will affect perceptions. Therefore, it is important for Pakatan Harapan (PH) to present candidates of quality that can be used as a benchmark to win this by-election," he told Sinar Premium.

For Perikatan Nasional (PN), Ariff believed that they would introduce Malay candidates because the party's objective was to win as many Malay votes in the area as possible.

"If we look at it from PN's perspective, they will certainly take ethnic background into account before entering the by-election arena. Whether the candidate is from Parti Pribumi Bersatu Malaysia (Bersatu) or Pas, it is still too early to conclude.

"At the PH level, it is expected that they will also use effective strategies to win the hearts of voters by fielding candidates who can interact with voters," he said.

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The Kuala Kubu Baharu state assembly by-election would be held following the death of its incumbent Lee Kee Hiong on March 21 due to cancer.

Lee, 58, had been the Kuala Kubu Baharu Member of Parliament under the Hulu Selangor Parliament since 2013.

The by-election would be the seventh by-election held after the 15th General Election (GE15) in 2022.

The Electoral Roll for the Kuala Kubu Baharu by-election consists of 40,226 people, comprising 39,362 regular voters, 625 police personnel, 238 military personnel and spouses, and one overseas absent voter.

Commenting on the statement by the chairman of the government's by-election machinery coordination, Datuk Seri Dr Zambry Abdul Kadir, regarding the candidate running not on behalf of a party, Ariff believed that the strategy did not necessarily strengthen the candidate representing the PN to win.

"I see that this by-election will be dominated by issues raised by the contesting parties. Although this phenomenon occurs at the state level, I believe that the issues raised are based on what is happening at the federal level.

"I see that both parties have the potential to win this by-election. However, if measured through the lens of the status quo, DAP and PH have the opportunity to deny PN victory by a slim majority because a significant portion of voters may choose not to vote in this by-election based on several factors such as the economy and geographical location," he said.

Universiti Sains Islam Malaysia Centre for Core Studies Associate Professor Prof Mohd Azmir Mohd Nizah agreed that local candidates would have more advantages and were given priority over external candidates.

"However, it is undeniable that candidates who are better known and accepted by the local community, even if they are not locals, can contribute to victory," he added.

When asked about the characteristics or assessment of candidates that would be put forward by political parties, Azmir said that the candidate's personality was the main criterion.

"However, in the context of the party, there are certainly other factors such as hierarchy, position, and experience. Parties also need to consider the acceptance of the local community, which is very important in by-elections compared to general elections.

"If ethnic composition is a consideration, then PN has the advantage. But if party factors or tradition are considered, then its strength lies with PH. Therefore, it is up to the voters to make a wise choice rather than an emotional one," he said.