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In Gombak, eyes turn to Azmin-Amirudin battle royal

While the seat will be contested by five candidates, the focus is on the showdown between Mohamed Azmin Ali and Amirudin Shari.

Azzman Abdul Jamal
3 minute read
Gombak incumbent Mohamed Azmin Ali speaks to Selangor Menteri Besar Amirudin Shari at the nomination centre in SMK Sungai Pusu, Selangor, on Nov 5.
Gombak incumbent Mohamed Azmin Ali speaks to Selangor Menteri Besar Amirudin Shari at the nomination centre in SMK Sungai Pusu, Selangor, on Nov 5.

In the parliamentary seat of Gombak in Selangor, battle lines are being drawn for what is expected to be a fierce fight between former PKR man Mohamed Azmin Ali and his one-time protege, Amirudin Shari.

Azmin, who joined Bersatu after being sacked from PKR in February 2020, has held the seat for three terms, since 2008.

At the upcoming general election, he will face three other candidates in addition to Amirudin – Aziz Jamaludin Mhd Tahir of Putra, Umno's Megat Zulkarnain Omardin, and independent candidate Zulkifli Ahmad.

However, the focus is on the showdown expected between Azmin, the international trade and industry minister, and Amirudin, the menteri besar of Selangor.

Gombak itself is among the so-called hot seats being watched ahead of the 15th general election (GE15), with PKR vying to win the seat and Azmin vowing to defend it albeit this time under the Perikatan Nasional (PN) banner. 

Azmin kept the seat at the 2018 election with a majority of nearly 50,000 votes, beating his competitors from Umno and PAS. 

This time around, he will have to prove whether his huge margin of success was due to his service and popularity, or to the party logo under which he stood. 

Amirudin, meanwhile, has never held a parliamentary seat. However, he has been the state assemblyman for Sungai Tua since 2008, when the constituency was known as Batu Caves. 

Amirudin Shari waves at the crowd during a ceramah in Pandan Indah, Kuala Lumpur. 

He, too, won with a comfortable margin of 11,374 votes, defeating candidates from Barisan Nasional (BN), PAS and the independent bloc to keep the state seat at the 2018 polls. 

Today, as the country enters the two-week campaign period that precedes polling day for GE15, voters in Gombak have a wide range of views on the battle of the titans. 

Some who spoke to MalaysiaNow said while Amirudin holds the highest rank in the state, Azmin appears to be the more popular of the two, given his many years of service as a representative in the constituency. 

Abdul Rahman Abdul Hamid, who has voted in Gombak twice, said Azmin would often go down to the ground and carry out his duties as an MP. 

"I have lived here for a long time, and I think his leadership style is very mature," he said. 

"Between Azmin and Amirudin, I am more familiar with Azmin because he has been the MP here for so long." 

Mohamed Azmin Ali addresses the crowd at a ceramah in Ukay Perdana, Selangor. 

Siti Aisyah Husam meanwhile said it was difficult to predict whether Amirudin would do a better job than Azmin as the Selangor PH chairman had never held the seat before. 

She added that Azmin's work appeared satisfactory, and that she saw no reason to replace him. 

"If he's been doing a good job so far, he should just continue," she said. 

"And the voters all know him." 

Nevertheless, she said her personal hope was that whoever is elected as the MP for Gombak would continue looking after the interests and well-being of the constituents. 

First-time voter Muhammad Nuraiman Mohd Murad said he had yet to decide who he would support come election day. 

While both Azmin and Amirudin were big names, he said, Azmin appeared to have the edge in terms of experience. 

"At first glance, Azmin was the menteri besar before Amirudin, and he is now a Cabinet minister, too," he said. 

"But anyway, I haven't decided who to vote for yet because I think the competition will be very tight."