New face in Semenyih race? PSM hasn’t even decided to run, says former candidate

PSM’s S. Arutchelvan said the party will only decide tomorrow if it would again contest the Semenyih by-election.— Picture by Choo Choy May
PSM’s S. Arutchelvan said the party will only decide tomorrow if it would again contest the Semenyih by-election.— Picture by Choo Choy May

KUALA LUMPUR, Feb 2 — The Socialist Party of Malaysia (PSM) will only decide tomorrow if it would again contest the Semenyih by-election, party central committee member S. Arutchelvan said today.

Arutchelvan, popularly called Arul and was the party’s candidate in the general election, said there is an intense debate within PSM on the feasibility of its contest after losing last year.

“There is pressure on PSM on whether or not to enter the race. We are factoring in that we garnered nearly 1,300 votes in the last general election and whether that could affect the votes in the upcoming by-election.

“This by-election could see a fierce fight,” he told Malay Mail in a brief interview.

In the 14th general election, Arutchelvan garnered 1,293 votes against Parti Pribumi Bersatu Malaysia’s late Bakhtiar Mohd Nor (23,428 votes), Barisan Nasional’s Datuk Johan Abd Aziz (14,464), and PAS’ Mad Shahmidur Mat Kosim (6,966).

Arutchelvan had contested the seat since 2004.

This comes as Malaysiakini reported that PSM may be fielding a new face to replace the veteran Arutchelvan, local boy Nik Aziz Afiq Abdul, quoting one anonymous source.

Arutchelvan dismissed the report as merely speculative, citing tomorrow’s meeting and the fact that PSM has not even decided to throw its hat in the ring.

The Semenyih by-election was called after its assemblyman Bakhtiar passed away on January 11, after suffering a cardiac arrest.

PPBM is speculated to continue contesting the seat, with Mohd Rais Zulkifli slated to be its candidate.