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Batu Talam - Calun bebas lawan BN

Entri ini semata-mata sebagai rekod berita penamaan calun pilihanraya kecil Batu Talam.

It's BN vs 22-year-old 'fresh face'

RAUB (Jan 16, 2007): The Barisan Nasional (BN) is to do battle with a fresh-faced 22-year-old independent candidate in Batu Talam, a by-election that PAS and Keadilan have boycotted and the DAP has no interest in.

Trader Ng Chee Pang, who turns 22 on Monday (Jan 22, 2007), filed his nomination papers at 9am followed by BN's Abdul Aziz Kiram, 47, half an hour later.

Ng was accompanied by his father, Ng Kwi Ling, who is the Pahang DAP treasurer.

Chee Pang is however not a DAP member, and the DAP leadership describes the event as a "no contest".

His opposition is Raub Umno secretary and a Bernama report estimated that he was accompanied by 10,000 BN supporters led by Deputy Prime Minister Datuk Seri Najib Abdul Razak and Mentri Besar Datuk Seri Adnan Yaakob as well as BN component party leaders.

If that figure is correct, it is equal to the whole voting population.

In a show of strength, they walked in a procession for about two kilometres through Raub town to the nomination centre at the district office.

The rural seat under the Raub parliamentary constituency fell vacant following the death of the incumbent BN assemblyman Datuk Tengku Paris Tengku Razlan, 66, on Dec 27 due to lung and colon cancer.

Polling will be held on Jan 28. A total of 10,525 voters, majority of whom are Malays, are eligible to vote in the polls.

DAP secretary-general Lim Guan Eng said Ng has no connection with DAP although his father is Pahang DAP treasurer.

"We are not moving our machinery to help Ng and no national leaders will be there to take part in his campaign. We have expressed no interest in the by-election even before PAS and Keadilan boycotted it," he said.

Najib has described the fielding of an independent candidate as the opposition parties' strategy to gauge Malay support for a non-Malay candidate in their preparation for the next general election.

"Although on the surface the candidate is an Independent, he is supported by the opposition parties.

"They claimed that they are boycotting the by-election but on the contrary they had given out instructions (to their members) to support the Independent," Najib told reporters after the conclusion of nominations.

He said he believed the opposition would be campaigning openly in the by-election.

"As such, we are not considering the contest as insignificant. We are mobilising our machinery and working hard to persuade the voters to come out to ensure a thumping victory for the BN.

"We don't want BN supporters to take it easy as there is no opposition party contesting, it's even worse if they do not vote," he added.

Najib sidestepped a suggestion that the Chinese would vote for the Independent candidate, saying that BN was confident of retaining the majority of Chinese votes with the assistance of its component parties.

On the age of the Independent candidate, he said: "It doesn't matter if he's young or old. This is part of the election strategy by the Opposition and we'll take on the challenge."

In Kuala Lumpur, Keadilan adviser Datuk Seri Anwar Ibrahim said the opposition was justified in boycotting the election to send a clear message to voters that the electoral process needed to be overhauled. sun2surf

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