KUALA LUMPUR: ROUSING showdowns are set to take place in 46 parliamentary seats, including 29 won by Barisan Nasional, in the 14th General Election (GE14).
Incumbents in these hot seats that were won with a slim majority of fewer than 3,000 votes are expected to experience stiff competition and receive greater attention from party leaderships.
Nine out of 29 BN seats are being held by cabinet members, including three ministers in the Prime Minister’s Department — Datuk Seri Dr Shahidan Kassim (Arau), Datuk Seri Jamil Khir Baharom (Jerai) and Tan Sri Joseph Kurup (Pensiangan) — who polled with majorities of 1,371, 1,196 and 1,744 votes respectively.
Other cabinet members are Plantation Industries and
Commodities Minister Datuk Seri Mah Siew Keong (Teluk
Intan, which was won in a by-
election), Transport Minister Datuk Seri Liow Tiong Lai (Bentong), Rural and Regional Development Minister Datuk Seri Ismail Sabri Yaakob (Bera), Second Finance Minister Datuk Seri Johari Abdul Ghani (Titiwangsa), Health Minister Datuk Seri Dr S. Subramaniam (Segamat), and Energy, Green Technology and Water Minister Datuk Seri Dr Maximus Johnity Ongkili (Kota Marudu).
Liow, who is MCA president, and Mah, who is Gerakan president, are among the top BN component leaders expected to face stiff competition should they be picked to defend their seats, following the respective majorities of 379 and 238 votes.
Ongkili, who is Parti Bersatu Sabah acting president, polled only a 842-vote majority in a four-cornered fight in the 13th General Election to emerge as the third-time incumbent for the seat.
However, Ongkili had recently hinted that he would not return to defend Kota Marudu, but would likely run for the Tambunan state seat.
The BN hot seats are also held by seven deputy ministers — Deputy Rural and Regional Development Minister Datuk Ahmad Jazlan Yaakub (Machang), Deputy Health Minister Datuk Seri Dr Hilmi Yahaya (Balik Pulau), Deputy International Trade and Industry Minister Datuk Chua Tee Yong (Labis), Deputy Natural Resources and Environment Minister Datuk Hamim Samuri (Ledang), Deputy Minister in the Prime Minister’s Department Datuk Seri Razali Ibrahim (Muar), Deputy Women, Family and Community Development Datuk Azizah Mohd Dun (Beaufort) and Deputy Agriculture and Agro-based Industries Nogeh Gumbek (Mas Gading).
Other BN hot seats are Pendang, Sik, Kulim Bandar Baharu, Ketereh, Bagan Serai, Cameron Highlands, Sabak Bernam, Kuala Selangor, Setiawangsa, Tebrau, Pasir Gudang, Saratok and Baram.
On the other side of the divide, there are five Pas hot seats, including Bukit Gantang, which vice-president Idris Ahmad won. He defeated BN candidate Datuk Ismail Saffian with a majority of 986 votes.
A heated battle is also expected to take place in Kuala Nerus, where Pas ulama council member Datuk Dr Mohd Khairuddin Aman Razali had polled a 610-vote majority against incumbent and BN candidate Datuk Mohamed Nasir Ibrahim Fikri, who won the seat in 2008.
Meanwhile, Pas information chief Nasrudin Hassan is speculated to run for a safe seat in Kelantan after he won the Temerloh parliamentary seat with a majority of 1,070 votes.
He defeated then BN leader and candidate Datuk Saifuddin Abdullah, who has crossed over to PKR and been appointed Pakatan secretary-general.
Also at risk of suffering defeat are two PAN seats Kuala Krai and Sepang — which were won on Pas tickets — PKR’s Sungai Siput, Lembah Pantai, Teluk Kemang, Batu Pahat and Miri, and DAP’s Raub, Sandakan, Sarikei and Sibu.