Cempaka state seat by-election in Kelantan is to be the mark of a change in the country’s political landscape as Barisan Nasional (BN) in particular Umno strengthen its relationship with PAS.
Staying out of the by-election gives the BN-led federal government time to focus on rehabilitating the life of flood victims in the state as well as smoothen the relationship with the PAS-led state government.
Moreover, the seat held by the late Datuk Nik Aziz Nik Mat is still too ‘hot’ for BN to ‘touch’ given the love of the 20,000-odd electorates towards the late Nik Aziz is still intact and has not eroded.
Additional factor is that the PAS-led state is working together with Umno to implement the Hudud Laws that will result in the Islamist party PAS being forced out of the opposition pact Pakatan Rakyat (PR) as DAP tightens the grip on the pact for a liberal philosophy and ideology.
DAP’s legal bureau chairman Gobind Singh Deo had already warned that the Islamist party might see the exit from the pact if it went ahead with its Hudud Laws agenda when the PR leadership council had yet to discuss the matter.
And PAS Dewan Ulamak had replied by giving the DAP the snub, saying the Islamist party would do what had been its obligation to Allah than pleasing its PR partners.
While PAS and DAP fights it out in the pact, all eyes are on the effect of BN’s move in staying out of Cempaka by-election which will change not only the political landscape but more importantly the political equation of PR.
DAP can longer depend on PAS for Malay support as in the past two general election (2008 and 2013) where marginal Chinese majority seats could see DAP losing, just like in Teluk Intan parliamentary by-election last year where BN won by just 200-odd votes majority.
DAP is not dependent so much on PKR as the multi-racial Malay-based party has yet to develop a strong Malay-based loyalty among its followers given the party’s goal is still for the de facto chief Datuk Seri Anwar Ibrahim to be the Prime Minister, not ideology nor philosophy.
BN staying out of the by-election may be the ‘the last straw that breaks the camel’s back’ as the DAP may further be agitated, probably assuming BN’s move as a confirmation of the Chinese-based multi-racial party’s suspicion that Umno and PAS had actually began to ‘sleep together.’
But the reality is that BN already saw its chances of winning the seat as far-fetched and may probably even lose its deposit given the ‘feeling on the ground’ for the late Nik Aziz from the electorates on sides of the political divide.
To them, Umno and PAS members who are Kelantanese and locals, the late Nik Aziz is still a religious man whose was clean and honest.
It is assumed and can be considered as very accurate assumption as of now that PAS will keep the seat as the late Nik Aziz’s image as a clean former Menteri Besar and religious leader are intact, reflected by the huge turned-out at his funeral on February 13 at his home in Pulau Melaka, Kelantan.
Nik Aziz retained the seat in 2013 general election with a majority of 6,500 votes when he polled 12,310 votes against BN’s Wan Razman Wan Abdul Razak’s 5,810 votes.
There was and still is no issue that BN can use to win the hearts and minds of the voters if the coalition decides to contest in the upcoming by-election if it insists on contesting.
Nik Aziz’s death has not only seemed to give PAS the extra sympathy from electorates of both sides of the political divide but more to it is that the electorates want to see Nik Aziz’s aim of implementating Hudud Laws be given the highest priority as his last legacy.
To this, Umno, the backbone of BN had already set up a joint committee to further refined and aid PAS to make the objective a reality in the state, all the while Nik Aziz was still alive but was sickly.
As for Permatang Pauh in Penang, observers and electorates are keeping the by-election in the ‘drawer’ for a while as they wait for the Yang Di Pertuan Agong’s response to the application for Royal Pardon that is being filed.-MYNEWSHUB.CC