KUALA LUMPUR, April 20 — MCA will have first dibs on fielding a candidate for the now vacant Bukit Gelugor seat in Penang, the Barisan Nasional (BN) coalition secretary-general said today.
The federal seat fell vacant following the death of its MP, Karpal Singh in a road accident on April 17.
Datuk Seri Tengku Adnan Mansor, who is also Umno secretary-general, said he has spoken to MCA president Datuk Seri Liow Tiong Lai and the latter will decide who will run in the event of a contest.
“As far as BN is concerned we will honour the existing agreement we have with MCA because the seat consists of voters who are 74 per cent Chinese,” Tengku Adnan told reporters here.
“Liow has also discussed it with the prime minister. We will wait for the prime minister to make the announcement,” the federal territories minister told reporters.
Karpal first won in the constituency in 2004 by a slim 1,261 votes against MCA’s Lim Boo Chang.
During the 2008 general election, Karpal defeated opponent Koay Har Huah by 21,015 votes.
In the May 5 national polls last year, the former DAP chairman trounced MCA’s Teh Beng Yeam with 41,778 vote-majority.
According to the 2013 electoral roll, there are 81,897 voters registered in the constituency, of which 75 per cent are Chinese followed by 14 per cent Malays and 10 per cent Indian.
Speculation is rife that Karpal’s eldest son, Jagdeep Singh Deo, will be nominated to contest in Bukit Gelugor.
But Jagdeep, 43, who is currently Datuk Keramat state assemblyman, has demurred.
“No, not now, just let us get past this first,” he told reporters at his father’s wake in Penang yesterday, when asked if he would run for Parliament.
Dewan Rakyat Speaker Tan Sri Pandikar Amin Mulia told The Malay Mail Online last week that he will inform the Election Commission on the vacancy officially tomorrow, as a sign of respect to the veteran statesman and lawyer.
Karpal and his assistant Michael Cornelius were killed in an accident last Thursday after the car he was travelling in collided with a five-tonne lorry on the North-South Expressway near Gopeng, Perak.
The veteran lawyer was accorded a state funeral attended by thousands today.
He is survived by his wife of over 40 years, Gurmit Kaur, five children and eleven grandchildren.