BANGI (Aug 18): It is going to be a two-way fight between MCA and DAP for the Balakong State Assembly seat in Selangor.
The two political parties are testing the waters this time around, with MCA ditching the Barisan Nasional logo to use its own and DAP using the Pakatan Harapan logo for the first time.
The first candidate to submit the nomination papers was MCA's Serdang committee member Tan Chee Teong soon after the nomination booth opened at 9am.
Wong Siew Ki, who will defend the seat of late DAP Assemblyman Eddie Ng, submitted her nomination papers at 9.15am.
The nomination day transpired smoothly, with supporters and leaders from both camp patiently waiting for their candidates to arrive from as early as 7.30am.
The nomination process went without hiccups, with both candidates' applications accepted by the EC.
Election Commission manager for the Balakong by-election Datuk Rosli Othman announced the confirmed application at around 10.20am.
Speaking to the press after submitting his application, MCA's Tan conceded that "the pressure is there, it's high" for him to prove that his party can play its new role as Opposition well.
"Of course the pressure is there. But more importantly the 21-day campaign period must be put to good use. I must address the voters' concerns.
"Now there is a path for me to walk [as a representative of MCA], so I have to walk along properly and bravely," he said.
DAP's Wong, meanwhile, said that this by-election is already off to a good start with the two sides concurrently trying out their new logo strategies.
"There will be an impact [for both parties] but we will be using the Pakatan logo for the first time... Finally, we (Pakatan component parties) are truly aligned," she said.
The plan, she said, is to focus more on walkabouts and people-centric issues. "We have 21 days, one of the longer campaigning period, and we want to use it efficiently."
Wong's optimism towards the alignment of Pakatan is not far-fetched. Her supporters were clearly adopting the Pakatan brand.
This was opposed to the Opposition, who chanted only MCA's name throughout - signalling that cracks in the Barisan Nasional coalition have already reached to the grassroots.
Outside, leaders who attended the event included MCA's strongman Wee Ka Siong. Finance Minister and DAP secretary-general Lim Guan Eng was also sighted.
The N27 Balakong State seat hosts 62,219 voters, of whom 61% are Chinese followed by 29% Malays and 9% Indians.
The seat has been a stronghold of DAP eversince it took over from MCA in the 12th General Election in 2008.
In the 14th General Election on May 9, DAP's Ng increased the winning majority against PAS' Mohd Ibrahim Ghazali to 35,538.