CAMERON HIGHLANDS: The Cameron Highlands by-election has kicked off in a festive atmosphere, as party supporters gathered in full force at various parts of Tanah Rata.
Barisan Nasional supporters have assembled near the nomination centre at SMK Sultan Ahmad Shah, at a field adjacent to the school since 8am on Saturday (Jan 12).
While some groups of supporters chanted the typical "Hidup BN!", another group representing component party MCA chose "Check and Balance" as their battle cry.
Umno vice-president Datuk Seri Ismail Sabri Yaakob, who is now assuming the duties of party deputy president, was one of the Barisan leaders amongst the crowd of dark blue.
Also spotted amount the supporters are Wanita MCA Chief Datuk Heng Seai Kie, MCA vice-president Datuk Ti Lian Ker, Umno vice-president Datuk Seri Mahdzir Khalid and Umno Youth Chief Datuk Dr Asyraf Wajdi Dusuki.
Barisan is fielding retired senior cop Ramli Mohd Noor to defend the Cameron Highlands parliamentary seat.
Umno acting president Datuk Seri Mohamad Hasan and Mentri Besar Datuk Seri Wan Rosdy Wan Ismail accompanied Ramli towards the nomination centre.
Meanwhile, supporters of Pakatan Harapan gathered at the Tanah Rata bus terminal as early as 8am, with most of them clad in red and waving red Pakatan flags.
At 8.45am, Pakatan's candidate M. Manogaran led the march of supporters from the terminal to the nomination centre.
With him were DAP secretary-general Lim Guan Eng, PKR deputy president Datuk Seri Azmin Ali and Parti Amanah Negara president Mohamad Sabu.
Cries of "Hidup Pakatan!" and "Hancur BN!" filled the air.
Hundreds of police personnel were on standby around the school since 7am to ensure the nomination process was a peaceful affair.
Nomination will be closed at 10am and the candidates are expected to be announced an hour later.
The Cameron Highlands parliamentary constituency has 32,009 registered voters.
On Nov 30, the Election Court declared Barisan's win during GE14 null and void, after it found corrupt practices were committed.
The incumbent Datuk C. Sivarraajh did not appeal the court's decision. The Election Commission (EC) has also barred Sivarraajh from contesting for five years.
DAP's M. Manogaran was up against MIC's Datuk C. Sivarraajh in the 14th General Election in May last year, where he narrowly lost, garnering 9,710 votes to Sivarraajh's 10,307.
Polling for the Cameron Highlands parliamentary seat will be held on Jan 26, with early voting set for Jan 22.