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Malaysia's Nurul Izzah Anwar fights to retain seat
Kate Arnott reports.


The daughter of Malaysian Opposition Leader Anwar Ibrahim has a big fight on her hands to retain her seat, when Malaysians go to the polls on May 5.

Nurul Izzah Anwar has claimed this election to be one of the dirtiest in history, but her opponent Nong Chik says everything is above board and the Opposition is fabricating stories.
Transcript
KESHA WEST, PRESENTER: In 2008, the daughter of Malaysia's opposition leader, Anwar Ibrahim, rose to international prominence when she won a seat in the country's parliament.

Now, Nurul Izzah Anwar has a big fight on her hand to retain the seat when Malaysians go to the polls on May 5th.

She's up against the federal territories and urban wellbeing minister, Nong Chik, in what she claims is one of the dirtiest elections in history.

Her opponent, though says everything is above board, and the opposition is fabricating stories because it has nothing of substance to contribute.

Kate Arnott reports.

(Footage of election rally for Nurul Izzah Anwar plays)

PROFESSOR JAMES CHIN, MONASH UNIVERSITY, MALAYSIAN CAMPUS: I think she has matured a lot and I think she has done her groundwork. By and large, based on the people I've spoken to in the city, she is quite popular especially, among the male voters and also the single mothers.

KATE ARNOTT, REPORTER: Popular she might be, but at the age of 32, and after just one term in parliament, Nurul Izzah Anwar is fighting for political survival.

NURUL IZZAH ANWAR, OPPOSITION CANDIDATE FOR LEMBAH PANTAI: You know, I am optimistic, but we have to be very cautious because we entering one of the dirtiest elections in history.

AHMED SHARIR, HUSBAND: God willing I think she has a good chance of winning , but we need to work hard because we cannot take anything for granted. She's against, up against a very formidable opponent.

KATE ARNOTT: That opponent in the seat of Lembah Pantai in Kuala Lumpur is Nong Chik, the federal territories and urban wellbeing minister.

The 60 year old belongs to the United Malays National Organisation, or UMNO, the same party as the prime minister, Najib Razak.

Nong Chik didn't stand for election in 2008 but was appointed as senator by Mr Najib soon after as part of the Barisan Nasional Ruling Coalition.

Lembah Pantai is an urban electorate of sharp contrasts. It takes in wealthy areas, upper middle class suburbs as well as a predominately working class Malay area where low cost housing is everywhere. There are 72,500 voters in Lembah Pantai Malays make up 55 per cent, Chinese 23 per cent, and Indians 20 per cent.

NONG CHIK, BARISAN NASIONAL CANDIDATE FOR LEMBAH PANTAI: I grew up in Lembah Pantai. I married in Lembah Pantai. My children was born in Lembah Pantai. My daughter was married last year in Lembah Pantai. My politics always is in Lembah Pantai. So do or die is in Lembah Pantai.

PROFESSOR JAMES CHIN: He has a huge advantage over Nurul Izzah Anwar. He's currently Minister in charge of the area. In other words, he's got a lot of government resources, a lot of government projects that he can bring down to the seat. In addition, he's got a huge election machinery.

KATE ARNOTT: In fact, since he was appointed Minister in 2009, Nong Chik has worked on improving various housing projects in the seat and his provided assistance to families who can't afford to pay their rent.

NONG CHIK: I focus on things like housing, low income groups, maintenance and infrastructure problems.

KATE ARNOTT: Political commentators say because of that, the daughter of the opposition leader will have a tough time winning over low income voters.

(Footage of Nurul Izzah Anwar at rally)

As well, Nurul Izzah Anwar has to content with an influx of new voters in the seat.

NURUL IZZAH ANWAR: I'm facing almost 5,000 phantom voters, especially those who are not residing in Lembah Pantai, and because of that I say, and my appeal to everyone, is to ensure everyone comes out to vote, to manage incidences of fraud in these elections.

PROFESSOR JAMES CHIN: It is my understanding somewhere between 5,000 or 7,000 new voters that cannot be traced. And Nurul Izzah Anwar and is very worried about these new voters. She's actually gone to court to try to remove these voters from the electoral role but she's been unsuccessful.

KATE ARNOTT: It is a big problem for her, considering she only won the 2008 election by 2,895 votes.

PROFESSOR JAMES CHIN: Without a doubt, all of us believe those new voters who can't be traced are the overwhelming majority of them will be supporting the Barisan Nasional or the ruling coalition.

KATE ARNOTT: Allegations of voter fraud are widespread in Malaysia. But like the prime minister, Nong Chik is promising this election will be free and fair. He says the 5,000 people Nurul Izzah Anwar is referring to are legitimate voters and are squaters who have moved into government housing.

(Footage of Nong Chik speaking at rally)

NONG CHIK (translation): The opposition is trying to get voters attention by making up nonsense because they don't have anything else to say except stories that are not credible and are defamatory against the leaders of Barisan Nasional, including me.

NURUL IZZAH ANWAR: I'm also demanding all candidates and this political party and the violence and the politics of slander we must fight clean.

KATE ARNOTT: Also pursuing a clean fight is the independent candidate running in Lembah Pantai, Rusli Baba. The former KL football manager and former UMNO member has vowed to expose what he says is a hidden agenda for development in the electorate.

PROFESSOR JAMES CHIN: I suspect he stood as an independent because he was not very happy that what we call RNC was elected. But that guy doesn't stand a chance at all.

KATE ARNOTT: So it's very much down to a battle between Nurul Izzah Anwar and Nong Chik. And they've got just one week left to convince voters they are the right one for the job.
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