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Malaysian polls may see Mahathir’s sonrise


Kuala Lumpur : The March 8 elections in Malaysia may see the rise of Mukhriz Mahathir, son of Malaysia’s long-time prime minister Mahathir Mohamad, on the country’s political arena.

Mahathir Monday said he had not allowed Mukhriz to stand for elections when he was prime minister but now he might contest the polls, The Star daily reported.

“Now that I am no longer prime minister, I cannot decide who becomes an election candidate. If others want to nominate him (Mukhriz), that is his right,” he said.

He was asked about a report that Mukhriz was tipped to contest in the Langkawi parliamentary seat in the general election.

The youth wing of Mahathir’s party Umno has, however, objected to the possibility of Mukhriz, who is on its executive council, being the candidate for the picturesque island tourist resort.

Its divisional secretary Mohamad Saiful Mustafa said that they rejected Mukhriz as “he is not from Langkawi and not a member of the Langkawi Umno divisional committee”.

A majority of people in Langkawi wanted MP Abu Bakar Taib to be renominated, Bernama, the official news agency, quoted Mustafa as saying.

This report comes amidst speculation that two of the four sons of Karpal Singh, the Indian origin chief of the opposition Democratic Action Party (DAP), may contest alongside him in the elections.

Prime Minister Abdullah Ahmad Badawi, who succeeded Mahathir four years ago, recently dissolved parliament a year ahead of schedule, precipitating the 10th general election.

Malaysia is ruled by Barisan Nasional, a coalition that has representation from the major ethnic groups – Malays, Chinese and Indians.

To offer it a tough fight, the opposition parties have agreed to field a single candidate to face the Barisan Nasional in each parliamentary and state legislature seat.

Parti Keadilan Rakyat (PKR) adviser and former deputy prime minister Anwar Ibrahim said the opposition parties comprising PKR, DAP and PAS had reached a consensus on the matter.

“For Peninsular Malaysia, we have more or less reached a consensus on seat distribution. We are still working on minor points in one or two seats,” he was quoted as saying by Bernama news agency.