Friday, September 19, 2014
BN looks to lose Pengkalan Kubor
After several days monitoring the Pengkalan Kubor, Kelantan by-election, our hunch is Barisan Nasional could lose their thought-to-be-safe seat. Don't ask us why but ignoring our hunch usually come at a cost.
It is not that BN or UMNO Kelantan did not prepare and make prior effort before the nomination. They did prepare themselves early to address all campaign promises of the late 3-term state assemblyman, Dato Norzaidi.
In the early stage of the campaign, there was a healthy turnout at the nomination and initial activities. After a week, somethings does not seem right. It does not have that winning feel. All the touching with fence-seaters did not carry much political message.
BN seemed not to be reading and countering PAS strategy.
PAS profile advantage
Pengkalan Kubor has 11 PDMs or voting district centres; 6 held by BN in last general election and 5 by PAS. Some comes in large majority and some in smaller ones.
By virtue of PAS being the candidate over PKR, that in itself will convert PAS supporters in this PAS country that voted BN out of disgust for PKR into PAS voters. That in itself cuts the 1,700 lead significantly down.
PAS voters are usually hardcore loyalist in which no money or sweet talk could shake their ballot for others. It is unlike UMNO's voters that can turn to sabotage candidates which does not come from their preferences.
Internal power struggle usually negate any advantage UMNO has. One bad habits prevailing was the willingness to vote opposition just to see candidates they dislike lose
A PAS strategist would focus their initial onslaught to gain ground in UMNO stronghold.
There is another profile of Pengkalan Kubor to consider, which is the coastal population versus the inland population. The coastal voters tend to be pro-PAS, while the inland tend to be pro-UMNO. The coastal voters are usually the poorer fisherman and runners for smugglers.
They need enforcement by APMM on illegal method of fishing by foreign fishermen.
In certain area, only the presence of Minister of Agriculture, Dato Sabri to deal with certain licensing issue could sway some votes away from PAS.
PAS would be fightng for all the inches from minorities and sub-groups they could get their hands on to turn around the BN majority into a win.
Border town Pengkalan Kubor have a sizeable number of Thai minorities. They are usually pro-BN and PAS is seen working hard to attract them.
No less than the frail Dato Nik Aziz made a visit there. It may seemed to be a desperate move to bring Nik Aziz to campaign but it only shows PAS seriousness to win the seat.There is no walkover.
One minority PAS is working on are Thai of Malay origin with dual nationalities in Golok. Their number runs to about 2,000 and they are hardcore PAS. Heard few PAS leaders had met them there. Has BN made much effort to cross the border to meet them?
There is also minorities like single mothers, handicap, out of town voters, etc. Single mothers, be it widow or abandoned wives, is serious problem in Kelantan. Number maybe small but with a multiplier of 5, that could determine between winning and losing.
Since balloting falls on a working day, the majority PAS out of the area voters will not be able to return. They will not make much impact.
As far as issues, PAS does not have much to work on.
They are the current state government and any complain they make will fall back on them and the candidate who is Coordinator for the area.
PAS has made a lot of promises, even grandiose ones like a RM2.3 billion new township, new port, bridges, etc but all have merely been only announcement and launching ceremonies. It never got off the ground.
However, they have resorted to stay on the attack to accused the federal government on various accusations such as failing to solve the flood problem, and even slanderous ones like funding murderers of Muslim Southern Thai.
Priority issue used to turn the common people anger against federal government is oil. It is Dato Husam Musa's favourite issue. It does not matter that the issue was brought to court, lost and no more ground to appeal.
UMNO could use a long list of promises they made but never delivered as issues.
Kelantan is a state too dependent on Federal government help so it is slanderous to claim they are victimised by Federal government. Dato Mustapha has been instrumental in helping the state government.
However, the Mustapha-led campaign seemed too defensive or lacking any punch. It as though they are the ruling government in the state. They have the bullets to shoot but are too shy to shoot.
Heard there is also the usual spate of problems related to money, opportunism, and local bureaucrasy.
PAS politics also has its toll on them.
The candidate is seen close to Anwarinas's Dato Kamaruddin Jaafar. The Director of Election is Anwarinas Dr Hatta Ramli. The fake oil royalty claim and R group are the hands of Anwarinas's Dato Husam Musa.
Some PAS members are not comfortable to support the current candidate. Rumour making it's around that PKR supporters will vote independent and PAS had to rebut it in their daily newsletter.
Candidate wise, BN candidate far outweigh PAS candidate in term of community acceptance and background. That is what BN is banking on.
However, PAS has a bullet on the candidate's second marriage to do a character assassination. BN could response with their own character counter attack and damage two nearby PAS state assemblyman. However, in this battle for inches, damage could be done.
Nevertheless, PAS is heard confident mood of grasping four of BN's PDM.
So far, conservative estimates see PAS name over PKR could enable Pakatan Rakyat, if it is of any relevance, to pare down BN's 1,700 majority in last year's general election to about 1,000.
With BN rather aimless campaign, we see it to be more than that. Possibly, it could turn from win to losing few hundred votes.
This is a wake-up call for BN.
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