Four candidates will be vying for the Rantau state seat in the by-election on April 13 – one each from Pakatan Harapan (PH) and Barisan Nasional (BN) and two independent candidates.

Those contesting in the four-cornered fight are incumbent Mohamad Hasan from Umno, Dr Streram Sinnasamy from PKR, and independent candidates Malar Rajaram and Mohd Nor Yassin.

Tandiko Dalusin from Amanah and Haza Khalid from PKR, who had been expected to contest as independents, did not file their nomination papers – apparently after their parties said they would be expelled if they had done so.

The names of the four candidates were announced by returning officer Mohd Nizam Tajul Arus after the close of nominations at the SJK (C) Bandar Sri Sendayan hall in Rantau at 10am.

Mohamad, 62, is the former Negeri Sembilan menteri besar and three-term Rantau assemblyman since 2004. The former bank manager is from Kampung Kundur Hilir, Rantau.

Streram, 60, is an anesthesiologist with a private hospital and hails from Klang. He is the Rembau PKR deputy chairman and has been a member of the party since 2008.

Malar, 51, is a housewife from Kampung Ganapathy in Port Dickson, and the other independent candidate, Nor Yassin, is 67.

In last May’s general election, Mohamad was declared the winner of the seat after Streram was prohibited from entering the nomination centre as he did not have a pass from the Election Commission (EC).

The Election Court declared Mohamad’s victory null and void following an appeal by PH and the Federal Court upheld the Election Court’s decision when it dismissed an appeal filed by Mohamad.

Campaigning for the by-election will last 14 days beginning today.

Polling will take place on April 13 and early voting on April 9.

There are a total of 29,926 registered voters, about 55% of whom are Malays, 26% Indians and 19% Chinese.

About 36% of them are between the ages of 21 and 39 and 40% between 40 and 59. The rest are above 60.

The by-election is the seventh to be held in the country since GE14, after those for the Sungai Kandis, Seri Setia, Balakong and Semenyih state seats in Selangor and the Cameron Highlands (Pahang) and Port Dickson (Negeri Sembilan) parliamentary.

PH won four of the six by-elections, and BN won the two most recent ones in Semenyih and Cameron Highlands.

Not counting GE14, Mohamad secured majorities of more than 3,000 votes in his previous three victories.

The by-election will cost an estimated RM1.8 million. A total of 515 personnel from the Election Commission will be on duty throughout the election period.

Rantau is one of the 36 seats in the Negeri Sembilan state legislative assembly. PH now holds 20 of the seats and BN 15.

The Rantau state seat is part of the Rembau parliamentary constituency, held by Umno’s Khairy Jamaluddin. The other state seats in the constituency are Paroi, Chembong and Kota. – FMT