PERMATANG PAUH: The battle for Permatang Pauh parliament seat hots up today when Penang PAS youth movement lifted its boycott and pledge to begin campaigning for Datuk Seri Dr Wan Azizah Ismail in the ongoing by-election.
Wan Azizah is now given a new lifeline after ‘walking alone’ in the rough battle terrain defending the constituency which has been her husband Datuk Seri Anwar Ibrahim bastion from 1982.
The almost quiet and subdued campaign atmosphere the past four days is expected to be lively and fierce with the inclusion of PAS youth election machinery known for its wide reach to the Malay grassroots and aggressive approach.
PAS youth’s ‘turn around’ stand, citing following the decision of party leadership on Permatang Pauh by-election had come as a thunderbolt hitting the Barisan Nasional (BN) by surprise.
BN has now to work doubly hard not just in convincing the hearts and minds of voters but most importantly defending the implementation of government policies such as the Goods and Services Tax (GST) but also stand on Hudud and 1 Malaysia Developkent Bhd issues.
PAS youth is expected to bring in speakers, qualified and knowledgeable on such issues, who are expected to take the many rostrums in the vast constituency in the next few days.
Malay voters in Permatang Pauh, young and old, are not naive despite living kampungs, sidelined by development, and working in factories in Butterworth and Penang Island.
PAS youth election machinery has been the backbone of Pakatan Rakyat (PR) in every by-election which effectiveness is considered equivalent to that of Wanita Umno when reaching out to the grassroots.
Adding to that which Wanita Umno lacks, is organising big ceramahs and rallying people, as evident during Anwar’s Black 505 rallies around the country after the 2013 general election.
BN’s Suhaimi Sabudin is now facing a real political battle, against a united PR, not just Wan Azizah and Suhaimi’s slogan Melakar Sejarah Baru or Charting A New History may just be a far-fetched dream, if his campaign could not ‘touch’ the hearts and minds of at least half of the 71,890 voters, who have lived with Anwar’s antiques since 1982.
The battle to unseat Anwar’s legacy is made tougher and rougher as the BN by-election machinery in the kampungs and particularly in mosques and suraus may be outnumbered by PAS youths.
It is obvious that with PAS youth election machinery marching into the battle field, BN has to re-strategise or risk failing in its mission to even reduce the majority of 11,000-odd Anwar polled in 2013 general election, whatmore to defeat Wan Azizah.
Wan Azizah can now walk tall in the campaign trail, boosted by an efficient election machinery and properly organised meet-the-people session as well as ceramahs schedules and venues.
Probably singing Bee Gees’ song Save By The Bell or the Animal’s Happy Together, Wan Azizah can now look at a smooth campaign trail and unobstructed schedules.
However, she may not achieve the number of votes she aimed like retaining her husband’s majority given the sentiments and loyalty if voters have reduced.
One restaurant owner in Penanti, ine of the state seats under Permatang Pa6h parliamentary cinstituency said: “Keadaan dah berubah.” (Situation has changed)
How far this is true and how much can only be known on polling day fixed on May 7.-MYNEWSHUB.CC