The 7th by-election post-Mar 8th General Elections is coming up-with EC reported to meet on coming Thursday. Conventionally the meeting will be followed by announcement of the election timeline. Knowing the next by-election time line before the current by-election in Penanti is over will keep the election mood on the boil in the country for sure. Watch out!
PAS shows true colour by telling BN not to contest
KOTA BHARU, May 24 — In a matter of a few hours after Manek Urai state assemblyman, Ismail Yaakob exhailed his last breathe, PAS, without hesitation, had “advised” the Barisan Nasional (BN) not to contest in the by-election for the state seat.
The “advice” was given by the PAS Election Director, Datuk Mustafa Ali yesterday, who also said that the state seat was indeed PAS’s strongest “fortress”.
He said PAS was very confident that they could defend the state seat and many could tell which party would win the by-election even if the BN decided to field their candidate.
Prime Minister Datuk Seri Najib Tun Razak, who is also BN Chairman, however, insisted that BN would contest in the by-election and would never offer an easy victory for PAS.
The Prime Minister said BN, in principle, would field a candidate for the by-election if the seat was vacated due to constitutional reasons like the death of the incumbent, but would not do so if the seat was purposely vacated to fulfil the Opposition’s political agenda.
Ismail died of a heart attack at 5.55am on Friday at the Raja Perempuan Zainab II Hospital, here. He was admitted to the hospital last month.
Ismail, 60, one of the longest-serving elected representatives in Kelantan, won the Manek Urai state seat during the general election in 1985. In 2004, after he decided not to defend the seat, PAS nominated Zamzuri Mat Lazim as their candidate, but he lost to BN’s Mohamed Zulkifli Omar by a majority of 53 votes.
In the general election last year, Ismail was nominated again to contest for the seat and he won with a 1,352-vote majority against Zulkifli.
The Election Commission (EC) was reported to convene a meeting on Thursday to decide the date for the nomination and polling day for the by-election.
Meanwhile, Deputy Prime Minister Tan Sri Muhyiddin Yassin reminded PAS leaders not to be over-confident of winning the by-election especially when the BN candidate only lost by a 1,352-vote majority in the last general election.
Kelantan Umno Liaison Committee Chairman, Datuk Mustapa Mohamed also said that PAS could be arrogant sometimes and this time it was getting more obvious as the by-election had yet to be held and the people had not cast their votes.
His deputy, Datuk Dr Awang Adek Hussin, however, preferred to let the people judge for themselves the statement made by the PAS leaders.
“Let the people judge it for themselves because PAS can say whatever they like. Not that BN will follow what they say, anyway. That’s not our focus. Our focus is to work and serve the people to the best of our ability.
“If there is a contest, of course BN will try to field the best candidate. Win or lose, we’ll let the voters in Manek Urai decide,” he said.
Awang Adek said the statement was probably aimed at dampening the BN spirit and giving a moral victory to the Opposition, while in fact, it had showcased PAS’s true colour which was nothing more than a political party struggling for power.
Although there are political observers who feel that PAS, under the leadership of Menteri Besar Datuk Nik Abdul Aziz Nik Mat, felt they were invulnerable after being in power for 20 years in Kelantan, along with their big win in the March 2008 general election, some of them feel that isn’t the real picture.
During the 2004 general election, PAS almost lost Kelantan when Kelantan BN under the leadership of Mustapa managed to reduce the gap by winning 21 out of 45 state assembly seats and eight of the 14 parliamentary seats.
BN also placed the PAS government in a risky position when PAS won the Kemuning state assembly seat by a majority of only two votes.
BN’s success in the Pengkalan Pasir by-election in December 2005 increased their number of seats to 22, following the death of PAS representative, Wan Abdul Aziz Wan Jaafar.
The by-election was won by BN candidate, Hanafi Mamat, with a majority of 134 votes to defeat PAS candidate, Hanifa Ahmad who obtained 7,288 votes. Independent candidate, Datuk Ibrahim Ali received 415 votes.
The theory that the seat is a PAS fortress can guarantee the party’s win can be ruled out because their candidate in Pengkalan Pasir, a PAS fortress in Kelantan, did not win.
Universiti Sains Malaysia (USM) Senior lecturer with the Social Science Studies Centre, Dr Sivamurugan Pandian believes that it is not impossible for BN to get Manek Urai with the right tactic.
Although they realise that PAS as the state government will not be affected if BN does win because they still have a majority of 38 seats, while BN has six and Parti Keadilan Rakyat has one, it is imperative for BN to field a candidate.
“It will give a boost to BN and Umno and prove that every action taken so far is to restore the party’s image, and that it is on the right platform and is accepted by the people,” he said.
Besides that, he said they need to ensure that the candidates are able to win the people’s heart and that the Kelantan Umno is united and all internal problems are resolved.
The transformation in the Kelantan BN leadership, which is once again headed by Mustapa, is seen to be able to win back the support of the people, he said.
As a leader known for his hard work and humility, it is believed that he can win back support for the BN.
The 1,352 majority obtained by Ismail at the last general election was also a reason to cause concern for PAS.
“BN needs to find a way to get the support of the younger generation and pay attention to finding solutions for their problems such as employment opportunities,” he said.
He said BN must be more detailed in clarifying issues affecting the public, including the political crisis in Perak.
Most importantly, he said the BN needed to show that they are sincere in serving the people and that leaders don’t only make an appearance during elections. — Bernama