Sg Kandis by-election could be decided by 7,000 PAS supporters

PKR's Mohd Zawawi Ahmad Mughni appears to have the upper-hand in the Sungai Kandis state by-election, which sees a three-way fight, but the factors that will decide the winner are the votes of some 7,000 hardcore PAS supporters; whether PKR can overcome its internal conflict; and whether Umno can turn the tables with a "star" candidate, Datuk Lokman Noor Adam.

Lokman is a member of the Umno supreme council.

The by-election is the first assessment for both Pakatan Harapan (PH) and Barisan Nasional (BN) since the 14th general election (GE14), which saw PH assuming power at the federal level.

The real fight is between the two coalitions despite an independent candidate, Murthi Krishnasamy, joining the fray, Oriental Daily News reported today.

Sungai Kandis (formerly Seri Andalas), is one of the nine state seats in Selangor affected by the electoral boundary redelineation exercise, which saw its status changing from a mixed to a Muslim-majority seat, with Malays accounting for 71% of the electorate.

The change in racial composition saw both PH and BN fielding a Malay candidate in a seat traditionally contested by their Indian candidates.

In the GE14, PKR candidate Mat Shuhami Shafiei's total votes and majority were reduced by 7,493 and 3,153 votes, respectively, compared with his predecessor in GE13, but won the election due to the splitting of Malay votes by PAS, which saw its candidate garnering 7,573 votes, and a drop in the number of voters in the constituency following the redelineation.

Now with PAS opting out of the by-election, the 7,573 voters are the kingmakers: should the majority of them vote for PKR, it will be a shoo-in for Zawawi; and his fate hangs in the balance should the majority of them go for the Umno candidate and PKR's majority votes are reduced by more than 4,900 votes.

PAS has yet to state its stand, but as an opposition party in the state, to opt out is a clear indication to avoid splitting the opposition votes, meaning there is a good chance that PAS will be working with Umno to win the seat.