PKR candidates list grows longer

By G. Manimaran and Adib Zalkapli (Malaysian Insider)
KUALA LUMPUR, April 2 — The number of potential candidates to represent PKR in the Hulu Selangor by-election has doubled, from just five early this week.
The Malaysian Insider understands the party leadership is expected to receive more names in coming days as leaders scramble for a shot at being in Parliament.
Sources in the PKR political bureau which met Wednesday night said the party headquarters already has around 10 names to consider.
“We were told there are 10 names forwarded by various quarters,” said a member of the political bureau, who asked to anonymous.
“Datuk Seri Anwar (Ibrahim) had mentioned them, some of them have already been named in the media,” the person added.
Among those speculated to be PKR candidates are Youth chief Shamsul Iskanda Mohd Akin; Kelana Jaya division chief, Syed Shahir Syed Mohamud, who is also MTUC president; Sabak Bernam division chief Badrul Amin Bahron; lawyer N. Surendran; and supreme council member Datuk Zaid Ibrahim.
The Hulu Selangor PKR division has also proposed its leader Nashruddin Abdul Aziz, vice-chief Razali Mokhtar and treasurer Datuk Dr Halili Rahmat. Both Razali and Dr Halili are from the constituency.
Dr Halili had contested in Hulu Selangor in 1999 and in Batang Kali state seat in 2004, but lost on both occasions.
Another name being considered by the party is Khalid Jaafar, a PKR supreme council member and long-time resident of Hulu Selangor.
The Malaysian Insider understands that the name of anti-ISA activist, Norlaila Othman, has also joined the list of potential candidates.
But the source added that the meeting did not discuss thoroughly the list of candidates, as it will be deliberated at the party supreme council meeting this Sunday.
“It will then be forwarded to the selection committee chaired by party president and will also be studied by the Pakatan Rakyat (PR) leadership council,” he said.
Senior party leaders have also met with some of the potential candidates to determine their suitability and their expectations from the by-election.
“It is still too early to say who will be fielded, not in another two or three days before we can say who will chosen to contest, it’s a tough choice,” said another political bureau member.
The Malaysian Insider understands that the PKR leaders remain undecided whether to field a local candidate or a high-profile national figure in the by-election.
The Election Commission (EC) will announce the dates for nomination and polling today.
The by-election was called following the death of incumbent PKR MP Datuk Dr Zainal Abidin Ahmad, who suffered from brain tumour.
In Election 2008, Zainal Abidin, who was formerly a Selangor deputy mentri besar, defeated Barisan Nasional’s (BN) Datuk G. Palanivel by 198 votes.
Despite winning Hulu Selangor, PR parties lost all the three state seats in the constituency to BN.