KUALA LUMPUR, April 21 — This election will be a baptism of fire for Pakatan Harapan (PH), which rose up from the ashes of Opposition pact Pakatan Rakyat that had denied Barisan Nasional two-thirds majority in 2008 and 2013.
Although galvanised by former prime minister Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad, PH will still face multi-cornered fights involving former ally-turned-nemesis Islamist party PAS and its Gagasan Sejahtera coalition, and the Socialist Party of Malaysia (PSM).
Here are some expected battlegrounds for these Opposition leaders:
President: Datuk Seri Dr Wan Azizah Wan Ismail — Pandan, Selangor?
It has been rumoured that Dr Wan Azizah will run in Pandan, replacing incumbent Rafizi Ramli from her party who was sentenced to 30 months’ jail for violating the Banking and Financial Institutions Act.
Rafizi had won Pandan by a whopping majority of 26,729 votes. Dr Wan Azizah holds the Permatang Pauh state seat won in the 2015 by-election, and her daughter Nurul Izzah has been rumoured to be the replacement candidate this time.
Deputy president: Datuk Seri Azmin Ali — Gombak and Bukit Antarabangsa, Selangor
The caretaker Selangor mentri besar is expected to defend both his state seat in Bukit Antarabangsa as well as federal constituency Gombak.
Azmin had won both seats by a comfortable margins of over 4,000 votes in 2013.
2. Parti Pribumi Bersatu Malaysia (PPBM)
Chairman: Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad — Langkawi, Kedah
The former prime minister had previously stated he would either contest in Langkawi or Kubang Pasu in Kedah, or Putrajaya. The announcement last week sealed the deal for the Kedah-born.
Dr Mahathir has not contested since 2004, and will be challenging Umno incumbent Datuk Nawawi Ahmad.
President: Tan Sri Muhyiddin Yassin — Pagoh and Gambir, Johor
Former deputy prime minister Muhyiddin will be defending his constituency in Pagoh, Johor. Since he has held the seat since 1978, many previously consider Pagoh to be a fortress for his former party Umno.
This time around, he is also expected to fight for the Gambir state seat, currently held by MIC with just 310 votes.
Secretary-General: Lim Guan Eng — Bagan and Air Putih, Penang
Penang’s caretaker chief minister Lim will be defending his state seat in Air Putih as well as his Bagan Parliamentary seat.
In 2013, Lim won the former with over 7,000-vote majority, and over 34,000 votes for the latter.
Chairman: Tan Kok Wai — Cheras, Selangor
Tan has been defending Cheras for more than two decades undefeated. In 2013, he took a whopping 81.53 per cent of his constituent’s support.
Parliamentary leader: Lim Kit Siang — Johor Baru, Johor?
Starting from Bandar Melaka in 1969 to Gelang Patah in 2013, the elder Lim has managed to take down some of BN’s biggest names including former Johor mentri besar Tan Sri Abdul Ghani Othman.
This time around, Lim has been very tight-lipped about his choice, but he has been rumoured at setting his sights on Johor Baru — pitting him head-to-head with incumbent Tan Sri Shahri Samad.
4. Parti Amanah Negara
President: Mohamad Sabu — Kota Raja, Selangor
The politician known as Mat Sabu has never stayed in one place. However, he has not won any election for PAS since 1999.
Mohamad will now try his luck in Kota Raja, currently held by Amanah colleague Dr Siti Mariah Mahmud. It will also be his first stab at a Klang Valley seat.
Deputy president: Salahuddin Ayub — Pulai, Johor
Salahuddin last won an election in Kubang Kerian, Kelantan in 2008. He will now gun for Pulai, the seat of caretaker deputy home minister Datuk Nur Jazlan Mohamed.
President: Datuk Seri Abdul Hadi Awang — Marang, Terengganu
Earlier this week, Abdul Hadi announced that he would only defend the parliamentary seat and will not seek re-election in the Rhu Rendang state seat.
Instead, Abdul Hadi announced that his political secretary Ahmad Samsuri Mokhtar will take over the latter seat.
Deputy President: Datuk Tuan Ibrahim Tuan Man — Jengka, Pahang?
Tuan Ibrahim was victorious in the state seat in 1999, but has been fighting to regain the constituency since 2004. It is currently held by BN’s Wan Salman Wan Ismail.
Secretary-General: A. Sivarajan — Kota Damansara, Selangor
Sivarajan has been confirmed as the party’s candidate in the state seat, and is holding a fundraiser dinner for his candidacy tonight.
In 2013, president Nasir Hashim had contested the seat under the PKR ticket, but lost in a multi-cornered fight that also included then Pakatan Rakyat ally PAS.
7. Parti Warisan Sabah
President: Datuk Seri Shafie Apdal — Semporna, Sabah
The former federal minister is expected to lead the Opposition’s charge in Sabah by defending his federal constituency in Semporna. He may be facing Datuk Nasir Sakaran, the son of former chief minister Tun Sakaran Dandai.
Deputy president: Darell Leikeng — Penampang, Sabah
Formerly from PKR, Leiking is expected to defend his federal seat where he soundly defeated Upko’s Tan Sri Bernard Giluk Dompok with a 10,216 majority in 2013.