Thursday, January 1, 2009

Kuala Terengganu by-election is favorable to BN

We welcome 2009, but are the early by-election in Kuala Terengganu occurring at the beginning of the year welcome by both Umno and Pas remains a question.

The weather in Kuala Terengganu is the classic example for its unpredictable likewise the politics.

Weather forecasters have always been criticized for their frequent false predictions of weather in Kuala Terengganu likewise the political analysts for their false predictions of unpredictable politics.

The Kuala Terengganu by election which is 16 days away is not just about the BN retaining its parliamentary seat. Politically, it's another test of strength between UMNO and PAS.

Ironically, the by-election result will have no bearing on the state government, but obviously it has long run far-reaching implications for local, regional, and national politics.

Obviously, the by-election is going to be an absolute fought between UMNO and PAS. The latest figure is 80,325 voters recorded in March 2008, BN and PAS had an equal chance with the 88.3% majority Malay voters in P 036 Kuala Terengganu; the party that could win over the 8,762 Chinese votes would break the tie and secure the win.

Kuala Terengganu, with Malays making up 88.3 % of the strong electorate, 0.60% of Indian voters and 10.91 % Chinese voters in the electorate who have traditionally backed MCA.

In this by-election, the Chinese in Kuala Terengganu seem more likely to be influenced by national issues, such as vernacular education, economic issues and their perception of BN’s reform efforts.

Deputy Prime Minister Datuk Seri Najib Razak handed over RM 408.6 million in oil royalty to Terengganu Menteri Besar Datuk Ahmad Said and the state government tabled a balanced budget of RM1.799 billion for the year 2009 to ensure the government can implement high-impact projects for the people, the moves seen by many observers as a bonus to BN.

PAS, a nearly exclusively Malay-Muslim party, is not very optimistic of the Malay votes as Anwar and his colleagues in the Pakatan Rakyat cannot be trusted to safeguard their position. The PR government seems to create the image of uphold Malay rights and would sell out the Malays.

Kuala Terengganu, as a traditional battleground of Umno and PAS, has always been unpredictable but favorable to BN. BN prevailed in 1986 with majority of 3,324 votes but Semangat 46 and its allies had the upper hand in 1990 with majority 1,880 votes.

The seat then reverted to BN in 1995 with majority 4,852 votes before going to PAS in 1999 with majority of 14,488 votes and then back to the BN in 2004 with majority 1,933 votes. In 2008, BN barely clung on to the seat with majority 628 votes, with argument that the outcome was influenced by independent candidate Maimun Yusof, who pulled 685 votes.


Seat Won By






Semangat 46














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