Shahidan led PN’s path to victory in Perlis

KANGAR: The move by political figure Datuk Seri Shahidan Kassim (pix) to contest in the 15th general election (GE15) at the last minute, on a Perikatan Nasional (PN) ticket is seen as the starting point for the rise of the coalition in trouncing the Barisan Nasional to take over Perlis.

Election Commission (SPR) chairman Tan Sri Abdul Ghani Salleh announced that PN succeeded in forming the state government after it secured more than 50 per cent of the votes.

It cannot be denied that Shahidan was Perlis PN’s gallant hero who paved the way for the party’s extraordinary victory as it swept three parliamentary seats in addition to 14 out of 15 state seats which was way beyond the coalition’s initial target of nine state seats to win a simple majority.

Shahidan has been in control of the Arau parliamentary constituency since 1986 apart from holding the portfolio of Menteri Besar for the state from 1995 to 2008.

State PN chairman Mohd Shukri Ramli said Shahidan successfully carried out his duties as Perlis PN’s warlord in fighting for the unity of the ummah starting in Arau before going to other areas in the northern states of the country.

“I hope this idea of ​​ummah unity can be developed together in PN and will be followed by the other states to form a clean and stable government,“ the PAS Perlis Commissioner told reporters after PN’s landslide victory yesterday.

Perlis Bersatu chairman Abu Bakar Hamzah said Shahidan also helped to strengthen the PN machinery by getting Bersatu and PAS to join forces to wrest Perlis from BN’s grip.

Playing the role of a warlord is not something new to Shahidan who was once UMNO liaison committee chairman as he was the person responsible for retaining BN strongholds in GE14.

When BN experienced a political tsunami in GE14, Shahidan managed to help win 10 of the 15 state seats to enable it to form the state government.

As such, the decision taken by UMNO president Datuk Seri Ahmad Zahid Hamid to appoint Perlis Menteri Besar Datuk Seri Azlan Man as the party’s State Liaison Committee chairman in April last year was also a wrong move.

The party leadership later made a drastic decision by not listing two Perlis politicians namely Shahidan and Datuk Zahidi Zainul Abidin who was also the Padang Besar parliamentary incumbent as BN candidates in GE15.

When new faces and ‘outside’ candidates’ namely Puteri UMNO chief Datuk Zahida Zarik Khan and Datuk Rozabil Rahman were selected to contest in the hot seats, Shahidan and Zahidi decided to stand as PN and Independent candidates.

Apart from the people of Perlis wanting to see a change in its state government and succeeding to do so through the ballot box, the votes of the young people also played a part in allowing PN to take over BN’s reign in the state for the past 65 years.

PN’s success in capturing all three parliamentary seats became a reality through the unity of the ummah when PN-PAS candidate Datuk Rushdan Ramli (Padang Besar), PN-Bersatu Zakri Hassan (Kangar) and Shahidan (Arau) won big in the contest.

As for the state seats, PN candidates from PAS won 10 seats through Haziq Asyraf (Beseri), Saad Seman (Chuping), Wan Badariah Wan Saad (Mata Ayer), Muhammad Azim Azizan (Santan), Fakhrul Anwar Ismail (Bintong), Asrul Aimran Abdul Jalil (Kayang), Wan Zikri Afthar (Tambun Tulang), Ridzuan Hashim (Guar Sanji), Razali Saad (Simpang Empat) and Mohd Shukri Ramli (Sanglang).

PN candidates from Bersatu contributed four seats namely Izizam Ibrahim (Titi Tinggi), Datin Marzita Mansor (Sena), Abu Bakar Hamzah (Kuala Perlis) and Megat Hashirat Hassan (Pauh).

Pakatan Harapan (PH) won only one seat through PKR candidate Gan Ay Lin who defended the Indera Kayangan state seat.

BN meanwhile, fielded new faces such as the Perlis Minister Besar press secretary, Saiful Daniel Mohd Yusof to contest in Sena state constituency, Padang Besar MCA youth leader Lim Weng Khee (Indera Kayangan), Kangar UMNO Committee Member Kamarudin Malek (Kuala Perlis), Arau UMNO youth leader Syed Atif Syed Abu Bakar (Pauh) and its committee member Sharifudin Ahmad (Sanglang).

It was a big upset when Azlan lost to PN-PAS candidate Fakhrul with a majority of 4,329 votes in a six-cornered fight for the Bintong state seat.

Nine other BN state assemblymen suffered the same fate namely, Teh Chai Aan (Titi Tinggi), Ruzaini Rais (Beseri), Asmaiza Ahmad (Chuping), Siti Berenee Yahaya (Mata Ayer), Azizan Sulaiman (Santan), Hamizan Hassan (Kayang) , Rozieana Ahmad (Guar Sanji), Nurulhisham Yaakob (Simpang Empat) and Datuk Ismail Kassim (Tambung Tulang). – Bernama