30 Jan 2011

PAS seeks more Chinese support in Tenang
chedet30 Jan 2011 0 Komentar

By Adib Zalkapli

January 29, 2011

Datuk Seri Abdul Hadi Awang speaking at the DAP organised event last night. — Picture by Choo Choy May

LABIS, Jan 29 — PAS president Datuk Seri Abdul Hadi Awang made a personal plea for the Chinese vote for tomorrow’s by-election as Malays continue to shun the party's candidate, Normala Sudirman.

Speaking at a 100 table dinner organised by DAP here Hadi was hopeful that the Chinese votes, which form 39 per cent of the 14,753 voters would lead to an electoral upset in the staunchly Barisan Nasional (BN) state seat.

“In 2008, the Chinese had supported Pakatan Rakyat. PAS and DAP won in Chinese areas. Hopefully we will see a bigger win this time,” said Hadi to about 1,000 people who attended the dinner at a Labis restaurant.

Also present were top Pakatan Rakyat (PR) leaders PKR de facto leader Datuk Seri Anwar Ibrahim and DAP secretary-general Lim Guan Eng, on his second visit drumming up support for Normala.

In 2004 BN won the seat with a majority of more than 5,517 votes but it was reduced to 2,492 votes in Election 2008, which was largely attributed to the shift of Chinese support to the opposition.

There are three Chinese majority polling districts in the Tenang constituency; Labis Tengah, Labis Timur and Labis where in 2008 PAS secured 50 to 67 per cent of the votes.

Hadi’s remarks came as the PR campaign has been unable to make any inroads among the Malay voters who make up 49 per cent of the electorate. Members of the community reside largely in the Felda settlements and traditional villages known to be Umno fortresses.

Normala’s colleagues from the Pas Muslimat have resorted to wearing red headscarves or tudungs, similar to the Umno colours, in a bid to enter and campaign in the Felda schemes.

“I am confident all of you will work hard in defeating BN in Tenang for us to make another step to Putrajaya,” said Hadi.

In his 20-minute speech, the former Terengganu mentri besar also sought to convince the Chinese community that PAS’s victory would not lead to marginalisation of the minority.

The crowd showing their support at the dinner. — Picture by Choo Choy May
“We are in one coalition, despite our religious and racial differences. PAS is an Islamic party and Islam encourages politics and politics in Islam is different from what has been practiced by Umno and Barisan Nasional,” said Hadi.

PAS and DAP have been under attack from MCA for the Islamist party’s Islamic state agenda. Normala’s refusal to shake hands with has also been made a campaign issue by the BN’s second largest party.

“We reject racism, we unite based on a common goal of upholding justice and ending cruelty. We are fair to all regardless of race or religion, just look at Kelantan,” said Hadi.

Normala is facing an uphill battle against BN’s Azahar Ibrahim, whose father Datuk Ibrahim Daud was a former Tenang assemblyman.

Umno sources say Azahar is assured of a win despite initial local opposition to his candidacy but his majority will depend on the number of Chinese voting for BN or PR.

Polling tomorrow will start at 8am and end at 5pm. Election Commission (EC) officials expect results to be announced by 8pm. This is the country’s 14th by-election since Election 2008.

Another by-election will be held in neighbouring Malacca where the Merlimau state seat fell vacant on January 20 when incumbent Datuk Mohamad Hidhir Abu Hasan died.

Both Umno and Pas are expected to renew their battle in the Merlimau vote which has been fixed for March 6.

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