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Kuala Besut: Looking forward to a sweet sixteen
- Thursday, 18 July 2013
BESUT: At every Pas ceramah in Kuala Besut at the moment, you will definitely hear the phrase enam belas-enam belas (sixteen-sixteen) being mentioned.
No matter the speaker, there is bound to be an analogy of a football game. They will say that an equal number of players on each side would result in a worthy
game between two rivals.
The t-shirt sellers caught on real quick and are selling Pas t-shirts cum jerseys with the number 16 in conjunction with the Kuala Besut by-election, which can
decide the future of the state.
At the moment, Barisan Nasional holds 16 seats while Pakatan Rakyat has 15 seats. A Pas wins will give Pakatan 16 seats or a possible “hung state assembly,” a
unique situation in Malaysia.
Terengganu Mentri Besar Datuk Seri Ahmad Said said the 16:16 campaign did not mean anything and should not arise as the speaker held an extra vote.
However the opposition has said that the speaker’s vote will not count as he was not elected by the rakyat, but rather a Barisan appointee.
The Kuala Besut by-election on July 24 will be a straight fight between PAS candidate Azlan Yusof and Barisan Nasional candidate Tengku Zaihan Che Ku
It was called following the death of former assemblyman Dr A. Rahman Mokhtar on June 26.
Kuala Besut is more than just a by-election. The locals, regardless of their political affiliation are talking about the “New Terengganu” Pas has been campaigning
Pulau Perhentian resident Nik Kamal, 47, believes there might be instability in the state if there are equal numbers of Barisan Nasional and Pakatan members.
He thinks that both parties will want absolute power if they are equal in the assembly and predicts a scenario where there are two penghulu (village chief) in one
village– one each to represent each party.
“There are bound to be problems. The people will suffer when everyone wants power,” he said adding that he will vote for Barisan.
Taxi driver Azhar Ali believes that the episode would make for a good learning lesson for the Election Commission (EC) as they would have to make sure that
there are odd numbers of seats in the future.
This could be for any state assembly or even at the parliament level, where there are 222 seats.
The Johor parliament for example has 56 state seats.
The Barisan supporter however doesn’t think there will be any trouble on the streets if there are equal numbers of representatives.
“Terengganu has been under the opposition before and there wasn’t any trouble,” he said.
He believes that the Sultan might advise both parties for a state wide re-election.
A fish seller who only wanted to be known as Mizi said both the government and opposition could definitely not work with one another and said that a re-election
would be the only option.
“There is trouble when they put up flags. What more in the assembly,” he quipped.
Vegetable seller Norshahidah Ghazali, 28, echoed Mizi’s opinion and said in any event of a re-election, the people would really choose carefully.
“I don’t think they can work together, no matter what the politicians say,” she said.
“If one side gives a suggestion, the other one is going to reject it. I think that’s quite normal,” she added.
PAS supporter Jusoh Ismail, 62, doesn’t think there should be a problem if PAS wins the Kuala Besut seats. He thinks PAS will get an opportunity to win the state
in a re-election.
Just like the others, he doesn’t think both sides can work with one another because of their ideological differences.
“That’s quite normal isn’t it? It’s politics,” he said.
BN candidate not widely accepted due to not being local
- Sunday, 14 July 2013
PAS has thrown to the wind its pledges to be civil in the Kuala Besut by-election campaign by firing the first salvo against Barisan Nasional candidate Tengku Zaihan Che Ku Abd Rahman.
PAS secretary-general Datuk Mustafa Ali claimed that the Barisan’s candidate was not well-accepted by the people as he was not a local-born as well as being a parachute candidate.
“I do not intend to launch personal attacks against the candidate but we have received negative feedback from the voters here about him. I have heard a lot of versions, including the fact that he was not born nor is he living here.
“He was also not the choice of local Umno but was chosen by Putrajaya,” he told reporters at the PAS by-election headquarters in Kampung Baru here yesterday.
He said that if what he heard was indeed true, then Tengku Zaihan would obviously not be well accepted by residents.
“Barisan and Umno have failed to understand and respect the aspirations of the people who want a local candidate to champion their causes,” he said.
On the other hand, he said PAS candidate Endut@Azlan Yusof was a local personality and well-liked by the people of Kuala Besut.
At another function, Mentri Besar Datuk Ahmad Said rubbished the Opposition’s claim that Tengku Zaihan was not a local boy, adding that he had worked in the district Drainage and Irrigation Department for five years and was only transferred to the headquarters in Putrajaya in February.
“Talk that our candidate is not from Kuala Besut is not true. Please don’t spread lies. Remember, we are in the holy month of Ramadan,” he said.
On Friday, both Barisan and PAS had pledged to conduct a civil campaign for the by-election in respect of the fasting month.
Mustafa also claimed that unemployment and poverty were among the main issues for people in the area.
“We will resolve these problems if we are chosen. The welfare of the people will be our main agenda here,” he said
Barisan Nasional has more to lose in battle for Kuala Besut
- Friday, 12 July 2013
The Kuala Besut by-election will be one of the most-watched as voters will decide if it leads to a hung Terengganu state assembly.
Banners and flags of both parties are already fluttering in the cool east coast wind ahead of polling on July 24, a scene replayed soon after the May 5 general election.
The seat fell vacant following the death of Umno's Dr A. Rahman Mokhtar who passed away on June 26.
The by-election is a straight fight between engineer Tengku Zaihan Che Ku Abd Rahman, 37, of Umno and businessman Azlan Yusof, 48, of PAS.
Even though it is the holy month of Ramadan, thousands gathered outside the Kompleks Rakan Muda nomination centre here on Friday to support the two candidates.
While Kuala Besut was once well-known as a fishing town, it is more famous now as the departure points for the Perhentian Islands, popular with tourists from all over the world.
Located at the Kelantan-Terengganu border and about 110km from the state capital Kuala Terengganu, the idyllic town will be in the intense spotlight for the next two weeks.
Regardless of whether the Speaker has the deciding vote in deciding the fate of the state, the assembly will have equal numbers on both sides should PAS wins this time round.
In the May 5 general election, Barisan won with a majority of 2,343 votes against PAS.
As it stands now, Barisan has 16 seats and the opposition 15. Both Barisan and PAS will now have to do their utmost to ensure victory.
Barisan is confident of retaining the seat and former Mentri Besar Datuk Seri Idris Jusoh, the Besut strongman, even targeted a 4,000 majority on July 24.
A confident Idris, who is Besut MP and Education and Higher Learning Minister, had even suggested to PAS to concede the by-election to “lessen the politicking”.
PAS however has hit back calling Idris arrogant and even declared that they stand a chance of winning the seat they last won in 1999.
Barisan is fielding Tengku Zaihan, a former Department of Drainage and Irrigation engineer. While his father is a well-known religious leader in Kuala Besut, not much is known about 37-year-old Zaihan who worked in Putrajaya previously.
PAS on the other hand is relying on popular businessman Azlan. Also known as Che Long to the locals, the 48-year-old runs a saw milling business along with his other ventures.
Azlan, the Besut PAS treasurer, is said to be a big funder of PAS’ campaigns in the area.
At first glance, both candidates seem unprepared to contest this by-election and not very media savvy.
Knowing what’s at stake, the big guns from both Barisan and PAS have already made their way here to win the hearts and minds of the 17,683 voters, including 1,149 absent voters.
The locals here definitely know what is at stake and some believe that there might be instability should there be equal numbers of Barisan and opposition members in the assembly.
Some think that fresh state-wide elections, coming just over a month after the May 5 polls, could become a reality.
Or even if Barisan loses the seat but retains the state because of the "Speaker advantage", there might be problems if another by-election had to be called.
One thing for sure is that Barisan has definitely more at stake in this by-election - The Star
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