It’s D-Day for voters in Bagan Pinang, Negri Sembilan, as they go to the polls today to decide on their representative in the 36-member state assembly.
Barisan Nasional is being represented by Tan Sri Mohd Isa Samad, 59, who will face PAS’ Zulkefly Mohamad Omar, 45.
This is the the ninth by-election in the country after the March 8 general election last year and is being held following the death of Barisan Nasional’s Azman Mohamad Noor on Sept 4.
The late Azman had won the seat against PAS’ Ramli Ismail in the last general election with a 2,333-vote majority, polling 6,430 votes against PAS’ 4,097.
Tan Sri Mohd Isa, who was Mentri Besar for 22 years (1982 to 2004), was previously a six-term wakil rakyat while Zulkefly, a state PAS commissioner, had contested and lost the Lenggeng state seat on three occasions.
However, both will not be casting their ballots this time as they are registered as voters elsewhere.
Tan Sri Isa appears to be the favourite to retain this seat for the BN and put an end to a series of by-electoral defeats for the federal ruling coalition in the hands of Pakatan Rakyat.
There will be eight voting centres in this by-election — Taman Eastern, Ladang Atherton, Siliau, Ladang Bradwall, Sua Betong, Kg Bagan Pinang, Si Rusa and Teluk Kemang.
Despite being raised near here, Tan Sri Mohd Isa, who is also Teluk Kemang Umno chief, has never contested the seat. He was Linggi assemblyman for five terms and Jempol MP once.
A former Umno vice-president, he has had to give up his post after being found guilty of breaching the party’s code of ethics in 2005.
He was suspended for six years but this was later reduced to three.
Bagan Pinang is a traditional BN stronghold. Malays form the majority of the voters with 62.8 per cent followed by the Indians (20.7 per cent), Chinese (11 per cent) and others (5.5 per cent).
It is located in the Teluk Kemang parliamentary seat. Four other seats in the constituency are Port Dickson, Linggi, Chuah and Lukut.
Chuah and Port Dickson are held by the PKR while Lukut is under DAP. Only Linggi belongs to Barisan.
Barisan controls 20 of the 36 state seats in the state assembly. The Opposition has 15 seats, with 10 belonging to the DAP while PKR and PAS have four and one respectively.