BN COMFORTABLE IN MERLIMAU, PAS TRIES AGAIN

KUALA LUMPUR, Feb 13 — Ever since the Bagan Pinang by-election in2009, the Barisan Nasional (BN) appears to be gaining strength after winning five out of the six by-elections held.

It is not impossible that they may also win two more by-elections, namely in the Melaka state constituency of Merlimau and Kerdau in Pahang, following thedeath of the incumbent Assemblyman Datuk Zaharuddin Abu Kassim last night.

Nomination day for the Merlimau by-election, the 15th since the generalelection in 2008, has been fixed for Feb 26 and in the event of a contest,polling will be held on March 6.

If the coalition were to win in Merlimau and also in Kerdau, the BN wouldhave won seven by-elections consecutively since Bagan Pinang, except for theloss to the DAP in the Sibu Parliamentary by-election in May 2010.

Out of the 14 by-elections, the BN won two Parliamentary seats (Hulu Selangor and Batu Sapi) while the rest were won by Parti Keadilan Rakyat(Permatang Pauh), PAS (Kuala Terengganu and Bukit Gantang) and DAP (Sibu).

In by-elections for the state constituencies, the BN had so far won inBatang Ai, Bagan Pinang, Galas and Tenang, while the rest were won by PKR (BukitSelambau and Penanti), PAS (Manek Urai and Permatang Pasir).

For the Merlimau by-election, the BN machinery in Melaka had made quickpreparation by scrutinising the list of ‘winnable’ candidates as desired by BN chairman Datuk Seri Mohd Najib Tun Razak.

On the other hand, the opposition pact earlier appeared to have yet to reacha consensus when the PKR was said to be keen to field its Youth chief Shamsul Iskandar Mohd Akin.

However, at the meeting between the PKR, PAS and DAP, lastMonday, it was decided that a candidate from PAS would be fielded for the stateseat instead. Political observers felt that among the reasons for the decision was thatPAS wanted to improve its image which had been dented after two defeats in Galasand Tenang, besides trying to influence the Malay voters who form the majorityin Merlimau. PKR, on the other hand, is said to be reluctant to face defeat as Merlimauis a BN stronghold.

For the BN, the government’s determination to be with the people in facingthe floods and evacuating thousands of Malaysian students in Egypt is expectedto give an advantage to the ruling party.

On the other hand, the PKR, which realises the advantage held by the BN following these efforts, tried to belittle these efforts when its deputypresident Azmin Ali claimed that the Malaysian embassy in Cairo was slow to act, saying that it had failed to gauge the prevailing political situation in Egypt that eventually brought the downfall of President Hosni Mubarak.

PAS meanwhile staged a demonstration in front of the Egyptian embassy in thefederal capital and gave out RM120,000 for the 1,281 Malaysian students there. The Merlimau state seat fell vacant following the death of the incumbent Assemblyman Datuk Mohamad Hidhir Abu Hassan, 54, from the BN on Jan 20 due to aheart attack.

In the 2008 general election, Mohamad Hidhir beat PAS candidate JasmeTompang with a majority of 2,154 votes.  There are 10,679 registered voters in Merlimau comprising 10,643 ordinary voters and 36 postal voters.  Malay voters make up 64.69 per cent, Chinese (21.11 per cent), Indians(14.16 per cent) and others (0.04 per cent).

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Media UMNO Malaysia
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