May the best man win: Fadillah (left) and Ahmad Nazib shaking hands after their nominations were accepted. - SHARON LING / The Star
KUCHING: Two Youth chiefs are facing off in Petra Jaya as Datuk Fadillah Yusof from Barisan Nasional takes on PKR’s Ahmad Nazib Johari in a straight fight.
Fadillah, 51, is the state Barisan and PBB Youth chief who is going for his third term in this semi-urban constituency.
Challenger Ahmad Nazib, 37, is the state PKR Youth chief and a relative newcomer to the polls. This is his second outing after he made his electoral debut in Satok, one of three state seats in Petra Jaya, during the 2011 state election.
They arrived about 10 minutes apart at the nomination centre at SMK Petra Jaya here yesterday, accompanied by flag-waving supporters shouting "Reformasi!" and "Hidup Barisan!"
Ahmad Nazib, a Syariah lawyer, was the first to file his nomination papers at 9.18am. He was proposed by Mohammad Suffian Jamel and seconded by Mohd Yusof Baharuddin.
With his proposer Irwan Zulkarnain Muhammad Hasbie and seconder Ahmad @ Tambi Nahap, Fadillah submitted his papers two minutes later.
At 10.10am, returning officer Dr Sa’adiah Abdul Samat announced that their nominations had been accepted to sporadic cheers from the supporters, who had to wait outside the school gates.
Both Fadillah and Ahmad Nazib said the nomination process had gone smoothly without any disturbance or difficulty.
“I hope that the entire election would proceed smoothly in a peaceful and harmonious environment,” Fadillah told reporters.
He said the one-to-one contest was expected in the constituency as both Barisan and PKR had already announced their candidates ahead of nomination.
“Our battle to maintain Petra Jaya as a Barisan fortress starts now. We want to ensure a big victory, not only in Petra Jaya but in the country so that we can continue to implement our programmes of transformation towards becoming a developed, high-income nation.
“For Petra Jaya, there is still plenty that needs to be done, not only in terms of physical development but more importantly, human capital development and a better environment for the people to live in,” he said.
He called on Barisan supporters to return him with a large majority as they had done previously in 2004 and 2008.
Fadillah won Petra Jaya with a resounding majority of 12,816 votes in 2004, which was increased to 14,397 votes when he retained the seat in 2008.
Meanwhile, Ahmad Nazib said he did not see himself as the underdog despite facing a tough battle against the Barisan incumbent.
“For us, democracy should flourish in society and so we don’t see it as being one-sided or unfair. Our message to voters is that what is important is to carry out the democratic process,” he said.
He urged voters to choose the candidate and party which could bring change to Petra Jaya and the country as a whole.
“For over 50 years the country has been ruled by Barisan. We want to change what is not right and form a new government under Pakatan Rakyat,” he added.