*Following the refusal of PKR to participate in the Thursday candidates’ debate it is not expected that many people will attend the debate on thursday. But the debate will go on with the 2 candidates who have agreed to participate-to prove a point by the organiser that open debates are a tried and tested way to provide information to voters. A golden opportunity to make the Penanti by-election an exemplary election looks set to be wasted on account of some `kiasu’ mentality of PKR leaders involved;
*What exactly do the parties do for this widely reported as `boring’ by-election? Here is a run down:
–Kamarul Ramizu Bin Idris-he is said to use a trendy `Pak Long Corner’ as his campaign contact point. MAFREL dropped by twice on 2 days but still has not managed to see the candidate himself. We had however seen his black cladded supporters putting up posters and banners around town; He has about the most banners and poster after PKR; A closer look at his posters shows that he is recycling the Bkt Gantang material-many of which still bear the words `Bkt Gantang’; He has however distributed a lengthy interview by Sinar to the public, promoting mainly religious development; His individualistic style make him not likely to be a suspected sponsored candidate;
–Nai Khan Uri-refused to take part in debate in typical BN style; former Gerakan leader and seems to hit the ground in campaigning like a cool `pro’; expected to be able to pull a few hundreds votes from the Thai ethnics group in some specific polling areas; A highly suspected conduit of BN support;
–Aminah Abdullah-ex-PKR women chief in Penang; has been campaigning with an operation centre in Penanti and with a husband and daughter team; footages of her allegation of being bribed to drop out of the race has seen many reruns in mainstream TVs, a sad reflection of the lack of substantive policy issue in the election; She and Kamarul are however the 2 candidates who are game enough to come to the candidate debate; her 3-hour CD containing her alleged evidence of the bribery is doing the round in Penanti and managed to raise some temperaure in the campaign;
The 3 candidates above have not held any `ceramahs’ so far.
–Dr Mansor Osman– I-want-to-debate-but-the-party-stopped-me candidate is seen all over the place, campaigning against the absentist BN; His Tekun’s days under Anwar had attracted some bric brats from PAS; Other wise he has the most well run campaign machinery of all 4 candidates; He released a 6-point candidate manifestos in the last 2 days. The pace of campaign is so relaxed that he left out the last point and promised to bring the last point soonest! There are big and small campaign gatherings in Penanti by PKR every day-as though this is a 1-horse race! National issues (Perak, KL) seems to dominate the campaign issues;