MELAKA (April 17): Pakatan Rakyat last night went to town with the news that Melaka interim chief minister Datuk Seri Mohd Ali Rustam and Perkasa vice-president Datuk Zulkifli Noordin were being fielded as BN candidates in GE13.
Both their names were brought up at the Bukit Beruang and Durian Tunggal ceramah as evidence of BN leader Datuk Seri Najib Razak breaking his promise of transformation.
BN announced yesterday that Ali would contest the Bukit Katil parliamentary seat in Melaka while Zulkifli would be ferried in from Kedah to stand in Shah Alam.
Ali will meet PKR Youth chief Shamsul Iskandar Akin and Zulkifli will battle it out with the PAS incumbent, Khalid Samad. Their candidacy has set tongues wagging for different reasons.
Ali, who has served three terms as chief minister, has been bumped up from his Bukit Baru state seat, which has fuelled speculation that he is shoo-in for a senior party position.
According to Pakatan, this so-called promotion has been granted despite the serious allegations of corruption against him.
"This is actually our first victory," PAS state commissioner and Durian Tunggal candidate Adly Zahari told the multiracial crowd in Durian Tunggal.
"We have managed to push Ali Rustam out of Melaka and I heard that the locals rejoiced when they heard that he was no longer running for a state seat."
"But Najib broke his promise of transformation when he fielded Ali Rustam, who should have been thrown out like (former Jelebu MP) Datuk Seri Rais Yatim."
Former Tangga Batu MP and current Sungai Udang candidate Datuk Idris Haron has been tipped to replace Ali if BN retains the state but Adly has described him as dua kali lima (no different from Ali).
Shamsul meanwhile was short on words when asked how he took the news of running against a BN heavyweight.
"I welcome Ali Rustam," he said with a smile. "Haven't I been waiting for a long time to face him?"
Ali's candidacy may have been frown upon, but BN was flayed even harder for its choice of Zulkifli who has severely ruffled feathers with his apparent intolerance for other races and religions.
Zulkifli had insulted Hindus in a speech in 2007 but has since apologised over this matter.
"Even Zulkifli Noordin can become a candidate," Adly pointed out to murmurs of disapproval from the crowd.
"Thank God, (Perkasa president Datuk) Ibrahim Ali isn't a candidate although I'm sure he will stand as an independent. Then, BN can wave goodbye to Pasir Mas."
Ibrahim announced last night that he would be defending his Pasir Mas seat as an independent candidate after BN chose to field Pasir Mas Umno division deputy chief Che Johan Che Pa.
Zulkifli's name also cropped up during an earlier ceramah in Bukit Beruang where Melaka DAP vice-president Ghandi Rajan Nalliah railed against his racist statement and Najib's apparent nonchalance towards it.