Kajang state seat by-election is a battle of sympathy versus ideology.
A battle of two women – one a president of a party – Parti Keadilan Rakyat (PKR) - set up on the basis of purported victimisation and the other a former vice-president of a Chinese-based party MCA under the ruling Barisan Nasional (BN) coalition that believes in power sharing that benefit all Malaysians.
PKR’s Datin Seri Wan Azizah Ismail is standing in for her husband Datuk Seri Anwar Ibrahim who was found guilty on a sodomy charge and convicted and sentenced to five years in prison.
Datuk Paduka Chiew Mei Fun is fielded when the Kajang state seat was vacated, planned by Anwar to enable him to become Selangor Mentri Besar, which was on the pretext of solving the feud between current Mentri Besar Tan Sri Khalid Ibrahim and party deputy president Azmin Ali.
The voters, educated urban dwellers numbering 38,965, comprising 48 percent Malays, 41 percent Chinese and 10 percent Indians will make their decision on polling day fixed for March 23.
Chiew arrived at Kajang Sports Complex around 8.50am while Wan Azizah arrived five minutes later, both accompanied by leaders of their respective parties and their component parties.
Wan Azizah, accompanied by Anwar and Khalid as well as other leaders from the party filed her nomination papers around 9 am together with Chew, who was accompanied by Deputy Prime Minister tan Sri Muhyiddin Yassin and other senior BN leaders including Datuk Seri Dr Ahmad Zahid Hamidi.
At stake is PKR’s pride as the seat was held by the party the last two terms while for BN, it is a yardstick to gauge its support from Chinese voters who had practically ‘abandoned’ the rulign coalition in last year’s general election.
However, the by-election is in reality for the MCA to gauge its influence that has taken a big dive when racial issues were played up by its nemesis DAP. Wan Azizah is said to be the saving grace for Anwar as her candidacy has changed the minds of the voters where talks had it earlier that Anwar would not get the numbers he expected as voters had doubted his sincerity in wanting to help Selangorians but his personal ambition.
Wan Azizah is going in banking on sympathy as her main theme – a loyal wife subsevient to her husband allegedly victimised by the ruling part – which many observers said would sell ‘like hot cakes’ given her past sacrifices for Anwar.
Chiew’s development theme may be buried by sentiments of sympathy and MCA cannot make the by-election as the yardstick to gauge its support smong ther Chinese community.