Malaysia elections: Key seats to watch

Gelang Patah, Johor (above)

The battle of the bigwigs: The outgoing Johor Menteri Besar Abdul Ghani Othman of Barisan Nasional (BN) will face off Democratic Action Party adviser Lim Kit Siang for this federal seat. Both are well-known. Mr Lim is an opposition veteran popular among some Chinese, while Mr Ghani has led the state for four terms.

Shah Alam, Selangor

The hardliner goes up against the moderate for this federal seat. BN's controversial choice of Datuk Zulkifli Noordin, who upset Hindus in the past with extremist remarks, contrasts with opposition Parti Islam SeMalaysia (PAS) candidate Khalid Samad, known for visiting a Catholic church shortly after the last election.

Keningau, Sabah

Two brothers do battle once again in Borneo as Joseph Pairin Kitingan, the incumbent MP from BN's Parti Bersatu Sabah, goes up against his younger brother, Jeffrey Kitingan, from the independent State Reform Party. In the last election, Jeffrey, who contested under the Parti Keadilan Rakyat ticket, lost to Joseph Pairin.

Ayer Hitam, Kedah

Former prime minister Mahathir Mohamed's son, Mr Mukhriz, is seeking to prove his mettle as a state assemblyman this time. In the last election he ran for the parliamentary seat Jerlun after state warlords rebuffed his attempt to run for Langkawi, where his father started his medical career.

Chempaka, Kelantan

The 82-year-old spiritual leader of PAS Nik Aziz Nik Mat and longtime Menteri Besar defends his state seat in what is likely to be his last hurrah. Rumours have swirled that he is in ill health and will be unable to continue serving voters for long, which he has strongly refuted.

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