COMMENTARY, July 2 — The campaign for Chini state seat by-election in Pahang entered its final stage with Barisan Nasional (BN) and PAS under the banner of Muafakat Nasional wrapping up the campaign trail leaving the two independent candidates very far behind.
With polling just a day away on Saturday, the 20,900-odd voters seem to have made up their minds and Independents Tengku Zainul Hisham Tengku Hussin and Mohd Shukri Ramli may lose their deposits.
BN’s Mohd Sharim Md Zain, 41, the youngest candidate of the three contesting, seems to be a good pick as voters want to have a younger representative to highlight their real problems: bread and butter issues.
With PAS election machinery and Umno’s well-known machinery reaching out to the living rooms of every voter, the Islamist party and Umno have found the key to winning the voters’ hearts and minds.
It is bread and butter issues that matter ― not much of ideology and philosophy — which are being played up by the national leaders of the Opposition.
On voters’ minds are jobs, earning a living, and a comfortable life with water, electricity, roads, and easy access to ATMs.
It may not be a surprise if on Saturday night both the Independent candidates find themselves losing their deposits.
Tonight, the two parties under Muafakat Nasional will hold a grand ceramah that
may see their candidate Mohd Sharim walking tall on Sunday.
Tengku Zainul Hisham has made some effort to woo the voters but was not convincing enough to attract the youngsters to like him as their representative despite him involving himself in young people’s activities such as self-defence and the such.
He had wanted to revive lost Tasik Chini charms with economic development but the youngsters knew Tasik Chini is history with development around Chini such as Gambang Resort, Kuala Ganda Elephant Sanctuary and Sungai Lembing.
Nothing in the tourism sector can help bring back the charms of Tasik Chini unless the myth of the dragon can be made a reality, joked a youngster at a stall in the Felda scheme.
Tengku Zainul Hisham’s chances of at least polling better were further eroded when Parti Pribumi Bersatu Malaysia (Bersatu) former chairman Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad threw his support behind him.
A lady in her 40s who wanted to remain anonymous put it bluntly: “It makes Tengku Hisham look more untrustworthy because those at my age no longer support Tun.”
It seems the elder generation in Felda Chini just do not accept those supported by Dr Mahathir.
The other Independent, Mohd Shukri, is just considered a passer-by trying his luck after losing two attempts in the 2013 and 2018 general elections.
Tonight’s Muafakat Nasional grand finale will wrap up the whole campaign as Friday tomorrow the candidates are expected to take their best shots at personal visits to houses of voters before polling on Saturday.
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