The political showdown in Rantau begins tomorrow, with the main contenders likely to be Umno deputy president and former Negri Sembilan mentri besar Datuk Seri Mohamad Hasan and PKR Rembau deputy chief Dr S. Streram.
The nomination for the by-election in the state seat will be held for one hour from 9am tomorrow at the multipurpose hall of Sekolah Jenis Kebangsaan (C) Bandar Sri Sendayan here before returning officer Mohd Nizam Tajul Arus who will announce the candidates.
The by-election has been necessitated by the Federal Court dismissal of an appeal filed by Mohamad to set aside the November 16 Seremban Election Court decision declaring his unopposed victory in the 14th general election (GE14) null and void.
In GE14, Mohamad was declared the winner of the seat for Barisan Nasional (BN) after Dr Streram, an anaesthetist, the potential Pakatan Harapan (PH) candidate, was prohibited from entering the nomination centre to submit his nomination papers because he did not have a pass issued by the EC.
As of now, both Mohamad and Dr Streram have expressed their desire to contest the by-election, for BN and PH, respectively. Polling is on April 13 and early voting on April 9.
The Rantau constituency has 29,926 registered electors, comprising 20,804 ordinary voters, 118 early voters and four absentee voters.
A total of 11,283 voters or 55.11 per cent of the electorate are Malay, 3,849 or 18.80 per cent Chinese, 5,336 or 26.06 per cent Indian and four or 0.02 per cent others.
Voters between the ages of 40 and 59 make up 8,538 of the electorate or 40.37 per cent, those between 21 and 39, some 7,589 or 36.26 per cent, and those 60 and above, some 4,799 or 22.94 per cent.
Rantau is one of the 36 seats in the Negri Sembilan state legislative assembly. PH now holds 20 of the seats and BN, 15.
The Rantau by-election is the seventh since GE14. By-elections have been held for the Sungai Kandis state seat (August 4 last year); Balakong and Seri Setia state seats (September 8 last year); Port Dickson parliamentary seat (October 13 last year); Cameron Highlands parliamentary seat (January 26) and Semenyih state seat (March 2).
Election Commission (EC) chairman Azhar Azizan Harun today came out with the usual reminder to all potential candidates and political parties on the dos and don’ts of the by-election.
He said in a statement that they must comply with the election rules and regulations and ethics throughout the campaign period, from after nomination tomorrow to 11.59pm on April 12.
Azhar Azizan said any campaign activity such as hosting feasts and giving gifts in cash or kind to influence the voters is an offence under the Election Offences Act 1954.
He also said that any action or statement which prohibits a voter from exercising his or her right to vote independently is an offence as well.
Azhar Azizan advised those campaigning to do so in accordance with the ethics so as to maintain harmony among the people.
“They must always adhere to the instructions of the authorities, especially the EC, Malaysian Anti-Corruption Commission (MACC) and the police. Anyone with information on the violation of election rules is advised to report to the relevant authorities,” he said.