KLANG: The intensity of the fight in Gombak and Kuala Selangor has somewhat eclipsed the battle that is taking shape for the Shah Alam parliamentary seat.
Three of the candidates, in the four-cornered fight, could be regarded as political middleweights with a reasonable amount of exposure and experience.
Political analyst Prof Dr Sivamurugan Pandian said Shah Alam was a very interesting constituency to watch given its varying population demographics.
He added the voters in the constituency were divided into the elite, middle class and B40 communities.
“And the candidates have party positions and one is even a sitting state assemblyman,” observed Dr Sivamurugan.
One of the three top contenders was Perikatan Nasional’s Bersatu candidate Dr Afif Bahardin who was also the incumbent Seberang Jaya assemblyman and had also served as an executive councillor in the Penang state government after the 2013 general election when he was still with PKR.
A protégé of International Trade and Industry Minister Datuk Mohamed Seri Azmin Ali, Dr Afif was one of PKR’s rising stars until he lost to Johor Baru MP Akmal Nasrullah Mohd Nasir in the fight for the PKR youth chief position in the 2018 party election.
He was one of the Azmin loyalists who ditched PKR following the Sheraton Move in 2020.
As for Barisan Nasional, the coalition’s Umno candidate Isham Jalil was equally politically savvy although he was not yet an elected representative.
Vocal and articulate, Isham had been heard and seen for several months before the run-up to the general election.
A recently appointed member of the Umno Supreme Council, Isham had served as a special assistant to former prime minister Datuk Seri Najib Razak.
He had also served at the Economic Planning Unit as a departmental director prior to that.
Pakatan Harapan’s candidate was Selangor Amanah’s deputy chief Azli Yusof who was Khalid’s political secretary when the latter was Federal Territories Minister during Pakatan’s 22-month tenure as Federal Government from 2018 to 2020.
Sources in Shah Alam say Azli was well known amongst the grassroots and could be seen attending many of the community-based events there.
The only political novice amongst the four contenders are Parti Pejuang Tanahair’s Muhammad Rafique Rashid Ali.
To win a majority of the votes, said Dr Sivamurugan, the candidates would have to show the people that they could serve everyone on equal footing.
“So, the right candidate must be someone credible and reputable who can convince the voters that they have the capability to represent the various segments of society in Shah Alam,” explained Dr Sivamurugan.
The seat’s incumbent MP, Amanah’s communications director Khalid Samad, had moved to contest for the Titiwangsa parliamentary seat.