Thursday, March 6, 2008

Intensive battle for Kelantan

KOTA BARU (March 6, 2008): Even at this eleventh hour, it is stilll difficult to predict the outcome of the elections in Kelantan. Both Barisan Nasional (BN) and PAS rate their chances as being favourable but the pundits are still at a loss to predict as to who will be hailed tomorrow night or Sunday morning.

Having ruled the state for the last 18 years, PAS thinks it has the upper hand in that it knows the sentiments of the majority of the voters in Kelantan, some of whom prefer to listen to abuses rather than praises.

For the entertainment-starved Kelantanese, ceramah and rallies, especially those organised by PAS, are a form of entertainment and they are well attended. Most of the speeches of its leaders are often spiced up with anecdotes and wisecracks often to further humiliate their opponents.

Nonetheless, one brilliant move that the BN has made thus far that could perhaps help to swing the votes in the coalition’s favour, was in naming Datuk Dr Awang Adek as their choice of mentri besar should the BN succeed in wresting the state from PAS.

He seems to be the only Kelantan leader PAS campaigners could not think up of something funny to say about him that could humiliate him and make their listeners laugh at him and to reduce his credibility in their eyes. To them he is scandal-free.

The general election in Kelantan has always been intense and this time around proves to be no exception, judging from the multitude of posters and banners dotting the landscape and the nightly statewide ceramah.

If there is one place in Malaysia which fits the description of elections by the late Indonesian president Suharto as the “feast of democracy”, it is Kelantan.

As always, PAS is portraying itself as the good guys, the defender of the faith and the defender of Kelantan, with the BN as the evil one through which the “orang luar” will control the state. MORE HERE

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