Rumour of Rantau Move for Rafizi?

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KUALA LUMPUR, Nov 16 – Umno deputy president Datuk Seri Mohamad Hasan will defend his Rantau state seat in the by-election that is to take place, party president Datuk Seri Ahmad Zahid Hamidi said today.

Making the announcement in a tweet, Zahid said he had expected the Special Election Court’s decision to nullify the results of the polls for the Rantau seat in Negeri Sembilan, in the 14th general election last May.

The case against Mohamad retaining the seat uncontested came about after the proposed PKR candidate, Dr S. Streram filed an election petition claiming that he was unlawfully denied entry to submit his nomination papers due to the absence of a tag or pass, as alleged by the Election Commission’s returning officer.

Will Streram be forced to make way for Rafizi?

The big question now is if Streram will still be the candidate for the Rantau seat.

His candidacy was based on the demographic in the constituency with Indians making up 27% of the registered voters, while Malays comprised 54% and Chinese 19%.

However, the circumstances in the country and his party has changed dramatically after May 9, and Streram could fall victim to the political shenanigans in PKR.

This is after rumours had been widespread recently of PKR vice-president Rafizi Ramli being named as the Pakatan Harapan candidate should the Rantau polls result be declared null by the special elections court.

Will Rafizi get “consolation prize” of state MB?

An added twist to the rumour was that the current Negeri Sembilan Menteri Besar Aminuddin Harun would be forced to step down to allow Rafizi to take over, should he win the by-election.

Though Aminuddin has dismissed such rumours as “mischievous speculation”, the rumour has continued to build momentum with the likely outcome of the PKR party elections seeing incumbent deputy president Mohamed Azmin Ali defeat Rafizi.

NS PKR chairman Aminuddin is also the Negeri Sembilan PH chief and leads the state assembly, in which PH has 20 seats – DAP with 11, PKR 7 and Amanah 2 – and Barisan Nasional has 16 seats.

The Azmin-Rafizi battle for the number two post in PKR has been contentious and very controversial with accusations of money politics, phantom voters and interference in the online voting process being levelled by both sides.

The latest count as of last weekend, following the party polls in Sarawak, sees Azmin in the lead but the official results will only be announced this weekend at the 2018 PKR National Congress in Shah Alam.

Team Rafizi decimated at PKR polls

Azmin’s allies had also clinched three of the party’s four elected vice-presidents’ posts, both the women and youth wings’ chief and deputy chiefs’ position as well as 15 out of the 20 Supreme Council positions.

This comes as a blow to Rafizi’s team, which included party vice-president Nurul Izzah Anwar, and had the support of her parents – new PKR President Datuk Seri Anwar Ibrahim and his wife Datuk Seri Dr Wan Azizah Wan Ismail.

Hence the rumours of the “Rantau Move”, similar to the infamous Kajang Move, that would see Rafizi being given the seat, in the hope of defeating Mohamad, and then taking over from his party colleague, Aminuddin as the MB.

The only question is if DAP, holding the majority in the state government, would cooperate with PKR like they did in 2015, when Wan Azizah won the Kajang seat and was named to replace then Selangor MB Khalid Ibrahim.

– NMT

*Photo credit to Rafizi Ramli FB page