Federal or state? Zairil’s fate still up in the air

When contacted last night, Zairil said he was still uncertain where he will be allowed to contest. — Picture by Sayuti Zainudin
When contacted last night, Zairil said he was still uncertain where he will be allowed to contest. — Picture by Sayuti Zainudin

PETALING JAYA, April 17 — DAP has yet to decide where it will field incumbent Bukit Bendera MP Zairil Khir Johari, who may remain to defend his federal constituency or be moved to a state seat. 

Having won the seat in 2013 with a 32,778-vote majority, Zairil was once considered a rising star in the party — aided by his being one of only a handful of Malay leaders in DAP — but his political stock has stagnated of late.

Talk now is that he may be shifted to a Penang state seat, possibly Tanjong Bungah or Pulau Tikus.

“I don’t know his fate. Hopefully he gets it (the seat he will contest in),” said a source from the state DAP branch.

During the 13th general election, DAP won Tanjong Bungah and Pulau Tikus with majorities of 5,515 and 8,220, respectively.

The incumbent for Tanjong Bungha, Teh Yee Cheu, has since quit DAP and is planning to contest in Sungai Pinang under a different banner.

The pressure to decide where to field Zairil is mounting, as coming up fast behind him is another young Malay DAP face, Syerleena Abdul Rashid, who is rumoured to be fielded in his Bukit Bendera seat.

She has been active in the area and has risen through the party ranks to become DAP Wanita’s assistant national publicity secretary.

Syerleena is also a Penang Island City Council member.

When contacted last night, Zairil said he was still uncertain where he will be allowed to contest.

“I have not received any instruction from the party yet, nor am I certain (if I will contest in a state or parliamentary seat),” he told ProjekMMO, Malay Mail’s sister outlet, via text message.

Party sources also declined to comment on the speculation, insisting that questions be directed at DAP secretary-general Lim Guan Eng.

Earlier this month, Zairil said the candidate for his constituency must be ready to face intelligent and sophisticated voters.

He also added that the seat historically favoured Barisan Nasional.

Last month, he unexpectedly announced his engagement to Dyana Sofya Mohd Daud, also once considered an up-and-comer in DAP, ending years of rumours about their relationship.

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