(The Malay Mail) - A loss will give a great slap to the government’s legitimacy
Terengganu will face massive upheaval to the state Constitution, the position of its Sultan and the existing administration should Kuala Besut fall to PAS in the July 24 by-election, Tan Sri Muhyiddin Yassin (picture) warned voters yesterday.
Speaking after nominations in Kuala Besut, the Barisan Nasional (BN) election director said rivals PAS and Pakatan Rakyat (PR) were aiming to win Kuala Besut with the ulterior motive of destabilising the state government.
BN won Terengganu with a two-seat majority in Election 2013, but the death of Dr A. Rahman Mokhtar, which triggered the by-election, meant it is hanging on by just one seat. A PAS victory would see 16 seats on opposite sides of the aisle, leading to possibly the first hung assembly in local history.
“If you do not vote BN, there will be other consequences from the aspect of the state Constitution, the position of the Ruler, and the necessity to hold a new state election,” Muhyiddin was quoted as saying by Berita Harian on its website yesterday.
“I know many want to avoid a 16-16 situation. The answer is simple: Just vote BN.”
Kuala Besut is considered an Umno stronghold, as it has won there by over 2,000 votes in the previous two elections. But the party and the larger BN coalition are sparing no effort to ensure that it does not fall into PR’s hands.
Beyond the crisis that a hung assembly will trigger, a defeat there could have disastrous fallout at the Umno election later in the year, given the BN coalition’s new low of Election 2013.
“A loss will give a great slap to the government’s legitimacy ... Anything can happen, so the impact will be huge because we have just finished the 13th general election,” Roslan Mohamad, the secretary-general of Kelantan rights NGO Pakatan Darul Naim, told The Malay Mail Online last week.
Talk of rival factions within the state Umno has heightened fears of internal sabotage, forcing BN to mobilise its big guns for a relatively minor by-election.