In Manek Urai, a battle for the votes of just a few

(The Malaysian Insider) KUALA KRAI, July 10 — Whatever the outcome of the Manek Urai by-election, it will not be by a landslide majority.

Both sides of the political divide seem to agree on this as they battle for what they say are just a small number of fence-sitters in the predominantly Malay constituency.

According to Kelantan Umno chief Datuk Mustapa Mohamed, fewer than 15 per cent of voters were undecided when the campaign began and there is now under 10 per cent of votes up for grabs.

Making up over 99 per cent of the 12,300 voters here, rural Malays are known for usually pinning their loyalties onto a familiar flag.

"In Manek Urai, there are a lot of resettlers here who came to toil the ground and found a better life. Those that were brought here by PAS will vote for PAS and those brought by BN will go for BN," said Tumpat MP Datuk Kamaruddin Jaafar.

The former PAS secretary-general said that while PAS was confident of a victory in a seat it has lost only once in six previous votes, he said that it would be difficult to increase the majority by a large margin.

However sources in PAS Kelantan say that they are predicting a 2,000-vote win, an increase from the 1,352 margin achieved here by the late Ismail Yaacob in the 2008 general election.

To achieve this, it has to bring back outstation voters to balance out the young votes.

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