PAS is confident its candidate, Mohd Azam Abd Samad, will retain the Sungai Limau state seat in the November 4 by-election as more than 50% of the voters in the constituency are aged below 40.
The 37-year-old former religious teacher is, in PAS president Datuk Seri Abdul Hadi Awang’s opinion, the right man for the task given his youth and his strong connections with the grassroots.
"Eight names were suggested but after going through them, we felt that Mohd Azam is the right candidate as he is a young man and close to people. He was also close to the late Tan Sri Azizan Abdul Razak's leadership when he was Kedah Menteri Besar," said Abdul Hadi today.
The by-election was called after Azizan died on September 26. Sungai Limau has been a PAS stronghold since 1995.
Anak Bukit assemblyman Datuk Amiruddin Hamzah, meanwhile, described Mohd Azam as a mirror image of Azizan in terms of character.
The father-of-two is also said to be a distant relative of Azizan.
"He will be well received by the people in Sungai Limau," he said.
The underdog, Barisan Nasional, will adopt a more defensive approach to win the hearts of the Sungai Limau folk.
Deputy Prime Minister Tan Sri Muhyiddin Yassin told a media conference earlier that the party’s candidate, former Universiti Pendidikan Sultan Idris lecturer Dr Sohaimi Lazim has a tough task ahead as Sungai Limau has been under PAS for a very long time.
"BN is facing a huge challenge here but it is not impossible for us to win based on the 13th general election results," he said.
In the May 5 polls, BN was returned to power in Kedah after winning 21 state seats while PAS only obtain 16.
In that contest, Azizan won in Sungai Limau with a majority of 2,774 compared with 3,212 in the 2008 general election.
He defeated BN’s Mohd Fazillah Mohd Ali in a four-corner fight. The other two candidates were independents.
Meanwhile, Kedah Menteri Besar Datuk Mukhriz Mahathir said former assemblyman Azizan’s leadership would have an impact on the by-election results.
"We acknowledge that PAS has a strong base here and Ustaz Azizan was a well respected leader. We will try our best to grab the seat," he said.
Sungai Limau has an electorate of 27,222 - 93% (25,333) of whom are Malays, while the remaining are Chinese, Indians and East Malaysians.
This is the second by-election to be called after the May general election.
The first was held in Kuala Besut, Terengganu following the death of BN's Dr A. Rahman Mokhtar on June 26. The seat was won by BN’s Tengku Zaihan Che Ku Abd Rahman. – October 23, 2013.