PERAK For 37 years, First Admiral (Rtd) Mohamad Imran Abdul Hamid had practically called the Lumut naval base his home.

Yesterday, the gates were closed to the PKR candidate for theLumut parliamentary seat when he attempted to campaign there.

Based on his schedule, Imran was to have performed his prayers at a mosque in the base, but he was told he could not enter wearing a party shirt.

NONEHe cancelled the plan and instead had lunch with his campaign team at a restaurant less than 1km from the main entrance to the base.

As most of the other patrons are navy personnel, he took the opportunity of greeting them as he went around table by table, while his team distributed leaflets.

“I could get in if I change my (shirt), but (my identity will be discovered) because (they know) my face ... If I go in, I will be followed. This is all because I have joined a political party that is against BN, that’s all,” he said.

“(But) I have my influence and experience. I’ve always taken care the personnel. I hope I can exert my influence. About 50-60 percent (of the personnel support me).”

NONEImran’s campaign manager Khairil Azhar Khairuddin said the team had been distributing leaflets at 8am and 5pm respectively for two days, outside two entrances to the base.

“Navy personnel votes are the hardest for us to get, so we can only try our best,” he said.

Imran is facing incumbent Kong Cho Ha of the BN, who survived the 2008 outing with a slim majority of 298 votes.

NONEYesterday afternoon, Kong (left in photo)was with former premier Dr Mahathir Mohamed who delivered a speech at the base, soliciting support for the BN in the May 5 general election.

As a guest, Kong shook hands with many of the personnel before leaving.

Lumut also has 12,718 voters from the armed forces and 569 from the police force in Lumut, comprising 15 percent of the 88,300 votes.

The naval base is located in the Pangkor state constituency, which is being contested by the incumbent and caretaker Perak Menteri Besar Zambry Abd Kadir.