TUMPAT – Voters in the Pengkalan Kubor state constituency have most probably decided on the choice of their next assemblyman from among the three candidates contesting the by-election, polling for which is on Thursday.
On that day, they will put a cross against the name of one these candidates – Mat Razi Mat Ail (rpt) Ail of the Barisan Nasional (BN), Wan Rosdi Wan Ibrahim of PAS or independent Izat Bukhary Ismail Bukhary.
Political observer Prof Abdul Aziz Abdul Latif said he believed that between 60 and 80 per cent of the 24,039 voters have decided on the choice of candidate.
“These people are from the voters aged 40 and above. From my observation, they are not swayed by the campaigning by the contesting candidates,” he said.
He said the remaining 20 per cent comprised the younger voters whom he regarded as the fence-sitters yet to decide on whom to vote for.
Abdul Aziz said the BN and PAS machinery are seen to be aggressive in trying to draw the support of these young fence-sitters as they would determine the victor.
The BN machinery has covered the whole constituency, meeting the voters face to face and going from door to door.
The ‘personal touch’ of the campaign was also lent by several BN leaders, including Deputy Prime Minister and BN deputy chairman Tan Sri Muhyiddin Yassin who called at the homes of people suffering from chronic ailments, the poor and the elderly.
Abdul Aziz said the campaign by PAS heated up only three days before polling. PAS had held its annual general assembly in Johor last week.
Another political observer, Universiti Utara Malaysia Adjunct Prof Datuk Hasan Haron, said the elderly had made up their mind and would not budge from their decision on the choice of candidate.
He also said that the long campaign period, of 12 days from Sept 13, had given all the candidates enough time to go around the constituency to introduce themselves.
“I notice that the BN has fielded the right candidate, suitable for the constituents of Pengkalan Kubor. He is highly educated, has wide work experience and his knowledge in the religious field is satisfactory.
“This poses a tough challenge for the PAS candidate. That’s why PAS has been making personal attacks against the BN candidate,” he said.
Hasan said the younger voters had not made a decision yet on the choice of candidate but some of them had reacted negatively towards PAS and PKR and they would translate that into votes for the BN.
Muhyiddin had said he learned from his visits to the constituency that the BN had a good chance of retaining the seat.
Mat Razi of the BN is well respected by the people for having bequeathed a piece of land for a ‘madrasah’ for 50 students to attend classes for free.
The head of the Kelantan Siamese community, Eh Chot Cha Chan, said he was confident that more than 1,600 Siamese voters would vote for the BN.
A trader, Ramlah Che Isa, 45, of Pantai Geting here said she would vote for the BN as she had lost confidence in PAS.
The by-election is being held following the death of the assemblyman, Datuk Noor Zahidi Omar of the BN, on Aug 20.
Noor Zahidi had retained the seat in the general election held last year with a majority of 1,736 votes, beating Saharun Ibrahim of PKR and Izat Bukhary.
PKR has allowed PAS to contest its seat in this by-election. – Bernama