Wednesday, 6th October 2010
EC Announces Election For N45 Galas, Nomination Day on 26th Oct 2010 and Polling Day On 4th November 2010
The Election Commission has fixed as October 26 as nomination day for the Galas by-election and November 4 as polling day, setting the stage for what many anticipate will be a thrilling contest where underdogs PAS will try its very best to retain the jewel in Umno’s dwindling but jealously-protected Kelantan crown.
The state seat fell vacant following the death of PAS assemblyman Chek Hashim Suhaima last month. It is part of Tengku Razaleigh Hamzah’s Gua Musang parliamentary stronghold and the late Chek Hashim had been hailed for being the first PAS leader to ever penetrate this rare Umno enclave in the mostly PAS-dominated Kelantan.
Ku Li used as bait by Umno to annoy PAS
Already, bitter rivals PAS and Umno have begun firing salvos at each other. In particular, Ku Li as Tengku Razaleigh is popularly known has been used as bait to annoy each other.
Ku Li, a Kelantan prince and former Finance minister, is an Umno veteran but he is also known for his independent mind and has not hesitated to slam his party for reneging on a federal government contract to pay the PAS-led Kelantan royalties for oil extracted within its boundaries.
The 73-year old Ku Li has often been a thorn in the Umno federal government but Prime Minister Najib Razak has reportedly signed a letter appointing him the Galas by-election director. Not only that, Deputy Prime Minister Muhyiddin Yassin and several other Umno leaders have rushed to express support for Ku Li being made the Galas by-election candidate.
PAS leaders have immediately chastised their Umno rivals for trying to insult and mock Ku Li’s standing as Galas is only a state seat, beneath the prince's national and even international standing.
Meanwhile, Ku Li has said he will only decide on whether to accept the offers when he returns from overseas on October 9. Pundits, who know him, do not expect him to accept either offer.
So far, Ku Li has directly refuted Muhyiddin’s statement that he had agreed to be the Galas election director. "You have to ask him (Muhyiddin). I haven't said anything to anyone yet," Ku Li said on Twitter when asked if Muhyiddin was telling the truth.
Chinese and Orang Asli the kingmakers
The 48-year old Chek Hashim had died after a long battle against colon cancer. He had wrested the seat from Umno in 2008 by a narrow 646-vote majority, securing 4,399 votes against Umno's 3,753 votes.
According to the last electoral roll, there are 10,330 voters in the constituency, with 65.4% Malays, 22.3% Chinese, 10.5% Orang Asli and 1.8% India
Pundits say the Chinese and Orang Asli voters may ultimately decide the winner. In the past election, the Chinese had mostly voted for PAS, while the Orang Asli voted Umno.
In a move that shows how seriously PAS is taking the Galas by-election, the party’s central working committee met on Sunday to discuss by-election strategy. However, PAS president Hadi Awang has deferred finalizing a candidates short-list although expectations remain high the final choice will be someone from the locality itself.
"We won't kid ourselves even though there will be political posturing here and there as is the norm in any by-election," PAS central committee member Nizar Jamaluddin told Malaysia Chronicle.
"But Galas was new to PAS and Chek Hashim was taken ill, so unfortunately, we did not really get to build as steady a rapport with the constituents as we would have liked. But with prayers, sheer hard work and the sincerity of our campaign workers, we are hopeful for another miracle to happen."
(Taken From Malaysia Chronicles)
AGI IDUP AGI NGELABAN