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Kajang by-election set for March 23

The by-election for the Kajang state seat in Selangor will be held on March 23, while nomination is set for March 11, the Election Commission (EC) announced in Putrajaya on Wednesday.

MALAYSIA: The by-election for the Kajang state seat in Selangor will be held on March 23, while nomination is set for March 11, the Election Commission (EC) announced in Putrajaya on Wednesday.

EC chairman Abdul Aziz Mohd Yusof made the announcement after a special meeting to discuss the vacancy in the Selangor State Legislative Assembly following the sudden resignation of the assemblyman, Lee Chin Cheh of Parti Keadilan Rakyat (PKR), on January 27.

In the 13th general election, held on May 5 last year, Lee had won the seat with a majority of 6,824 votes in a six-cornered contest which also involved the Barisan Nasional (BN), Berjasa and three independent candidates.

The Kajang by-election is touted the most controversial because the state seat was vacated unexpectedly in order to pave the way for opposition leader Anwar Ibrahim to enter the Selangor state assembly.

It came barely nine months after an intensely-fought general election in May last year and at a time when religious and racial tensions are on the rise.

Many Malaysians are also grappling with rising cost of living and anxiety over the scheduled implementation of broad-based goods and services tax next year.

Besides voters in Kajang, Malaysians in other areas are agitated - they want to know why the by-election, which will cost the people almost US$500,000, is necessary.

They also want to know what they will gain from the polls or if it is for selfish interest of the opposition party Keadilan and its leaders.

Up till now, Anwar has refused to give a definitive answer on whether he is aiming for the chief minister job.

The opposition intends to make Selangor - the richest state in Malaysia - the economic gateway to topple the federal government in the next election.

At the launch of his party machinery in Kajang on Monday, Anwar painted a picture that Selangor is under siege – he said the UMNO-led BN coalition is pouring money to wrest control of the state, without giving details or proof.

Nomination is still over a month away on March 11 before polling on March 23, during the school holidays.

Malaysians are bracing for an intense 12-day campaigning as both sides of the political divide slug it out for Kajang. 

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