ALOR STAR: Parti Pribumi Bersatu Malaysia (Bersatu) information chief Datuk Wan Saiful Wan Jan is rumoured to be heading for Penang to contest the Tasek Gelugor parliamentary seat in the 15th General Election (GE15).
This comes as a surprise because the former National Higher Education Fund Corporation chairman had been putting in the hours at the Kubang Pasu parliamentary seat over the past year.
Rumours of Wan Saiful's possible move to contest as a Perikatan Nasional (PN) candidate in Tasek Gelugor surfaced after he was seen attending the Bersatu division's general election machinery programme on Sunday.
Datuk Shabudin Yahaya, who contested under the Barisan Nasional (BN) ticket, won the Tasek Gelugor parliamentary seat in the previous general election.
Shahbudin defeated the then Bersatu candidate Datuk Marzuki Yahya and Pas candidate Rizal Hafiz Ruslan in a three-cornered fight with a razor thin majority of 81 votes.
Shahbudin later left Umno to join Bersatu, while Marzuki departed from Bersatu to form Parti Pejuang Tanah Air (Pejuang) with Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad following the fall of Pakatan Harapan (PH) federal government in February 2020.
Shahbudin had earlier announced that he was not defending the seat in GE15 to make way for younger candidate.
In GE14, Wan Shaiful had contested for the Pendang parliamentary seat.
However, the former chief executive officer of think thank body Institute for Democracy and Economic Affairs (Ideas) lost to Pas candidate Datuk Awang Hashim in a four-cornered fight.
Meanwhile, a source in Bersatu claimed Tasek Gelugor division chief Azmi Alang was open to making way for Wan Saiful to contest the seat.
"Azmi, a grassroots leader in Tasek Gelugor, is tipped to be contesting a state seat in the state election next year," said the source, who spoke on condition of anonymity.
He added that as a former Pas member, Wan Saiful would be able to pull support from Pas members in Tasek Gelugor as the seat was the party's traditional seat.
"Tasek Gelugor division has a better structure compared with the Kubang Pasu Bersatu division.
"Wan Saiful's move to contest in Tasek Gelugor is a strategic move as he has the potential to be appointed as a cabinet minister in the event that Perikatan Nasional forms the next federal government," the source said.
Wan Shaiful is expected to face a four-cornered fight in Tasek Gelugor against BN, Pakatan Harapan and Marzuki, who is expected to have another go for the parliamentary seat as a Pejuang candidate under the Gerakan Tanah Air coalition.