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PETALING JAYA, March 11 — Parti Keadilan Rakyat (PKR) has picked Datuk Dr S. Streram to contest on the Pakatan Harapan (PH) ticket in the Rantau by-election next month.
This is Dr Streram’s second shot at the seat after he was denied entry into the nomination centre in the general election last year, which ultimately led to Umno acting president Datuk Seri Mohamad Hasan’s uncontested win being nullified by an Election Court.
PH de facto leader and PKR president Datuk Seri Anwar Ibrahim said the coalition had met on March 6 and 9 and they were comfortable with nominating Dr Streram, who is Rembau PKR division deputy chief.
“We won’t be pressured into nominating a Malay candidate,” Anwar told a press conference.
“We must remain consistent and present the position of the party which is a party that represents all Malaysians, protects the poor, marginalised and underprivileged the majority of whom are the Malays in Rantau.
“The race card is normally used as a last resort by either opportunist or those who’ve lost all basis of rationale,” he said at the PKR headquarters in Petaling Jaya today.
The combination of Umno and PAS in pushing for Malay-Muslim interests, which gained traction in the previous Cameron Highlands and the latest Semenyih by-elections, will once again be played up in Rantau.
Mohamad is expected to further consolidate his leadership in Umno if he retains Rantau, which he has represented since 2004.
However despite Mohamad’s stronghold on the state seat, Anwar said Pakatan must stay consistent as in Rantau the breakdown of voters are 53 per cent Malaysia, 27 per cent Indians and 14 per cent Chinese.
“There is real poverty among the segment of the Malays, the Indians working in the estates and some of the Chinese,” Anwar said of the situation in Rantau.
“I think it is better we present our case to all Malaysians that we will not allow our struggles to be derailed or hijacked by racists or those with other agendas.
“This is why I was pressured to name our candidate early because we want our election campaign to be a PH-led machinery,” Anwar said when asked why he named the candidate so early with more than a month to election day which is on April 13.
The Rantau by-elections will be on April 13 while nomination is on March 30.