Nurul Izzah for Sungai Bakap? She’s a perfect fit, say analysts

She would stand a strong chance in winning the Sungai Bakap constituency.

28 May 2024 07:30am
Nurul Izzah. Bernama FILE PIX
Nurul Izzah. Bernama FILE PIX

SHAH ALAM – The unexpected vacancy of the Sungai Bakap state seat following the death of its incumbent Nor Zamri Latiff has necessitated a by-election in the constituency.

Speculation is rife about who will contest the by-election in this pivotal constituency with many asking whether Prime Minister Datuk Seri Anwar Ibrahim will throw his daughter’s name Nurul Izzah, who is also PKR vice-president, into the ring.

Political analysts when contacted said should Nurul Izzah want to contest, she would stand a strong chance in winning the Sungai Bakap constituency.

Dr Oh Ei Sun said it was vital for all parties to field candidates with strong winning potential and for PKR, Nurul Izzah might be more viable than other candidates, especially given the sizable Chinese voter demographic in the area.

“If she is groomed to be Anwar’s successor, then perhaps she should get an elected seat to bolster her political legitimacy.

“I think what is more important is to field winnable candidates and she is perhaps more qualified than other potential candidates, given the larger number of Chinese voters there,” he told Sinar Daily.

Oh said that Nurul Izzah should be placed in an executive role, such as state executive council member (Exco), to allow people to assess her performance and solidify her leadership credentials.

He said that her inclusion in the Penang Exco was essential given her party position, where she can gain more experience at the state level.

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Oh said that without such move, it would be challenging for her to secure a significant federal position, as her father, the Prime Minister, might face accusations of nepotism.

Meanwhile, Universiti Teknologi Mara (UiTM) Centre for Communication and Media Studies, College of Computing, Informatics and Media lecturer Professor Datuk Dr Ismail Sualman said that Nurul Izzah faced no obstacles in becoming a candidate, given her popularity and suitability for the by-election.

“Based on her popularity and ratings, she is capable of contesting in this particular election, even though it is quite tough in terms of the candidates, especially PKR’s opponent.

“I think she can compete effectively against the opponents in that particular election. For the time being, she doesn't hold any position, so I don't see any problem with her becoming a candidate,” he said when contacted on Monday.

Ismail, who is a seasoned political commentator, emphasised that given Nurul Izzah's absence from her parliamentary role, she was eligible and much-qualified to contest as a candidate.

Additionally, he said the possibility of Pas nominating their candidates for the assemblyman seat could potentially lead to a challenging electoral competition for the Unity coalition especially since the incumbent was known to be an influential figure in the community having been the Nibong Tebal Pas Chief.

Given Nurul Izzah’s experience as a four-term parliamentarian under PKR, he said she should also consider a new strategy by transitioning into state administration.

Ismail said that Nurul Izzah was already well-acquainted with the state and its political landscape seeing her last post was Permatang Pauh MP before losing the seat in the 15th General Election.

“She can potentially bring more development to Sungai Bakap, especially since it borders Perak and she could focus on fostering growth in the area,” he said, stating that she could possibly bring change to the area.

He highlighted that, for example, Sungai Bakap could benefit from a new bridge to the island, which could spur further development and growth.

With her experience, he said she could bring many ideas on how to enhance and develop Sungai Bakap effectively.

In 2022, Nurul Izzah lost the family’s stronghold in Permatang Pauh allegedly due to her ‘lack of commitment’ towards the constituency.

At that time, voices on the ground expressed their discontent with her performance in the Permatang Pauh parliamentary seat not only throughout the campaign period but also during her time as a Member of Parliament.

The Sungai Bakap state by-election in Penang would be held following Zamri’s passing on May 24, due to complications from stomach inflammation.

Zamri contested in the state elections against Pakatan Harapan candidate Nurhidayah Che Rose back in August and won with a majority of 1,563, after securing 15,433 votes.

The Election Commission had received an official notification from the Speaker of the Penang State Legislative Assembly Datuk Law Choo Kiang regarding the seat’s vacancy and a special meeting would be held on June 6 to discuss the important dates for the state by-election.