Whatever the outcome in Teluk Intan, the Islamist party has proven that it is a sincere partner in Pakatan.
As of this writing, it’s still anyone’s guess who will emerge the winner.
Kuala Krai MP and PAS polls director Hatta Ramli, in a text message to this columnist on Thursday, had this to say: “Win by ten votes pun cukup. (It’s enough if we win even by ten votes.) Voters in some places are very violent, but our muslimat (PAS Women’s Wing) is doing a good job.”
BN and Pakatan Rakyat are fighting tooth and nail in this parliamentary constituency, which Pakatan won in 2008 and 2013. In 1999 and 2004, the seat was won by the current BN candidate, Mah Siew Keong of Gerakan.
Certainly DAP’s Dyana Sofya Mohd Daud is going through a test of her mettle. This election outing is her baptism of fire.
Meanwhile, MCA is laying it thick and fast in its attacks on Dyana and DAP via the mainstream press, especially the Star, which it owns. These were the paper’s headlines on three consecutive days:
May 27: ‘Support Mah for stability’
May 28: Grill DAP leaders, says Liow
May 29: Apologise to the public, DAP told
MCA is using the development card to woo voters. BN’s campaign strategy has always included dangling a giant development carrot as vote bait.
But how often has BN kept its promises? Didn’t it promise not to increase the prices of goods during its campaign for the 13th general election? And then, after it had won the election, didn’t it raise the prices of petrol, sugar and electricity?
The assemblyman for Ayer Keroh, Khoo Poay Tiong of DAP, recently reminded us that BN promised to build a Tamil school in Ladang Jasin Lalang when campaigning for the Merlimau by-election in March 2011. After more than three years, the only thing standing is a small signboard basically repeating the promise.
The result of the Teluk Intan poll will show us how many are still willing to be taken in by BN’s promises.
Kampung Bahagia and Kampung Changkat Jong are Malay voting streams, and PAS is going all out to woo voters there as if its own candidate is contesting for the Changkat Jong state seat, which lies within the Teluk Intan parliamentary constituency and covers the two kampungs. PAS lost the Malay vote there in GE13.
Indeed, PAS Deputy President Mohamad Sabu has urged party activists to campaign as if it is PAS who is contesting in Teluk Intan, and PAS members from as far as Kelantan, Terengganu and Johor are helping in the effort.
PAS President Abdul Hadi Awang has stressed that although PAS and DAP have their differences over hudud, PAS is forever grateful to DAP for coming to its support way back in 1978, when the federal government declared a state of emergency in Kelantan, which led to the downfall of the PAS state government.
PAS’s contribution to the Pakatan campaign is Teluk Intan is 100%. It is doing its utmost to reach out to the Malay voters there, many of whom are Umno diehards. It is a difficult job, but PAS did manage to increase the Malay vote in the recent Bukit Gelugor by-election.
The participation of Hadi and other top PAS lawmakers such as Shah Alam MP Khalid Samad, Parit Buntar MP Mujahid Yusof Rawa and Changkat Jering state assemblyman Nizar Jamaluddin in the Teluk Intan campaign should be enough to convince anyone that PAS is committed to helping DAP win the seat. Indeed, never has this columnist seen such commitment.
After the results are announced, we will know whether DAP will pass this most difficult of all by-election tests in its history. But whatever the outcome, it is already obvious that the friendship between PAS and DAP is rock solid despite their differences over hudud.