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2008/02/25
Body find only incident

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KUALA LUMPUR: The first salvo has been fired. Barisan Nasional is 9-1 up.

The ruling coalition won seven parliamentary seats and two state seats uncontested but lost a state seat in Kelantan.

The full range of human emotions was loudly, clearly and colourfully displayed at the nomination centres. But there was hardly a ripple of trouble.

After nominations and objections closed at noon, Datuk Azalina Othman Said found a second consecutive unchallenged entry into parliament when no opponent turned up to register for Pengerang in Johor.

Other BN parliamentary victors were Datuk Abdul Ghapur Salleh (Kalabakan, Sabah) and Tan Sri Joseph Kurup (Pensiangan, Sabah), and four seats in Sarawak -- through Norah Rahman (Tanjung Manis), Alexander Nanta Linggi (Kapit), Aaron Ago Dagang (Kanowit), and Joseph Entulu Belaun in Selangau.
In the battle for state seats, Datuk Ramlee Marbahan (Bugaya, Sabah) and Datuk Abdul Rahman Palil (Sementa, Selangor) were returned unopposed for BN.

However, the coalition's push to reclaim Kelantan suffered a hiccup when Pas' Wan Ubaidah Omar was given a free ride after BN's nomination for the Kijang seat, Mustopa Ahmad, was rejected as he had been declared a bankrupt.

The only incident that caused some anxiety yesterday was when a decomposing body was found in a bus chartered by Puteri Umno.

The young women complained of a stench to the driver while they were on their way from Semenyih to Kajang.

Once they had arrived, the driver opened the luggage compartment and found a man's body inside. He is now helping police in their investigation.

From the young women, the spotlight moved on to a woman old enough to be their grandmother who caused a stir in Terengganu when she successfully filed her nomination.

After four attempts, Maimun Yusof, 89, succeeded in getting her papers right to stand in Kuala Terengganu as an independent.

The grandmother of seven will be up against incumbent Barisan Nasional MP Datuk Razali Ismail and the better known Mohamad Sabu from Pas.

Maimun dismissed suggestions that she might lose her RM10,000 deposit by saying: "I'm the one who really knows the people here and what they need."

In Sabah, there was the usual excitement over the number of three-, four-, five- and eight-cornered fights, and an assault on Parti Bersatu Rakyat Sabah president Tan Sri Joseph Kurup after he won the Pensiangan parliamentary seat uncontested.

A man punched him in the cheek as he attempted to avoid water bottles that were being hurled at him. Protected by party workers, he was unhurt, except for the punch.

There will be two eight-cornered fights in the state -- in Tanjung Kapor where BN will be up against Parti Keadilan Rakyat, Parti Bersekutu and five independents.

Another five independents took on the challenge in Sukau, together with candidates from BN, Pas and Parti Bersekutu.

One party worker complained that the Election Commission had done such a good job of separating the opposing supporters that they were denied the chance to engage in a pantun warfare.

Supporters of the candidates were kept far apart, so all they could do was shout. But some came well prepared to make their presence felt -- they brought along drums, dressed in colourful clothes, engaged a paraglider and even had "lions" accompany them.

In all, 1,588 candidates, including 103 independents, are contesting this general election.

BN leads with 222 candidates in parliamentary seats and 504 candidates in state seats. The other candidates are from PKR (97 and 174), Pas (66 and 235), DAP (47 and 101), Bersekutu (two and 15), Pasok (three and nine), Sarawak National Party (four parliamentary seats), Parti Rakyat Malaysia (one and three), independents (37 and 66) and Sabah-based Setia (two state seats).

For parliamentary seats, two nominations were rejected following objections while in state seats, only one nomination was turned down.
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