Permatang Pasir: PAS set to win with reduced majority

PAS is expected to win at least with a majority of 2500 or 3500 the Harakah Daily indicated on its website. 

World Futures Online ( )

The media battle for the Permatang Pasir by-election was more intense than the Manik Urai elections in Kelantan with pro-BN blogs giving a helping hand to the official published media. However, the battle was more on who among the two candidates are more credible though in the ballot boxes, the tendency says the Party Islam Se-Malaysia (PAS) should retain the seat.

For the PAS it is the reduced majority that is expected that could be a form of 'winning' claim by the United Malays National Organization (Umno), which is the underdog in this battle. Permatang Pasir being part of the bigger Permatang Pau where Anwar Ibrahim is the Member of Parliament,  it was hoped that the PAS would retain the seat with the same majority that it did in the March 2008 elections. The PAS candidate, Allahyarham Mohd Hamdan Abdul Rahman won by 5433 votes in 2008 while for today's polls, PAS activisist sees a reduced majority by almost half. 

PAS is expected to win at least with a majority of 2500 or 3500 the Harakah Daily indicated on its website. A 2500 majority would mean the Umno has indeed made a bigger push among the electorate but it is still insufficient for the ruling party to be able to claim a clear cut victory over the PAS and the Pakatan Rakyat (PR) alliance in a bigger electoral battle.

Some observers however points out that the battle would have been very different had the Party Keadilan Rakyat (PKR) fielded a candidate at Permatang Pasir. They told that the PKR would have driven the campaign differently than the PAS, which is still battling a massive division among its ranks, division that has divided its supporters and voter base altogether.

It is evident that some of the pro-PAS supporters would shift to the Umno in the Permatang Pasir vote due to the division among the top leadership of the party over shadow deals and secret talks with the Umno. This, the observers stated, has caused confusion among the PAS supporters and it has added into the already existing rife between the PAS and the PKR which are both competing for Malay votes.

The PKR supporters too is seeing in the PAS a potential 'Umno' coalition partner, that is a party that can leave the PR alliance any time soon and join the Umno in a government that is called a Government of National Unity (GNU) in which the PKR will have no place. The Democratic Action Party (DAP) too is in rife with the PAS over several issues and its party supporters may simply be absent during today's vote said the observers to

This will add to the PR woes of not getting full support whereas a PKR candidate would have grabbed the most among the PR support base that created the electoral 'tsunami' that wiped the BN out of the Penang seat of power.

Due to the internal strife within the PAS and its problems with the PKR and DAP, a victory for the PR in the Permatang Pasir election will signify continued support to the PR, added one observer. There's no doubt that if the Umno wins in the elections, the entire analysis will be dumped in water as no one really expects the Umno to win in today's election as the Harakah Daily noted in one of its article on the by-election.

Though the election will not affec the seating in the Local Assembly, the ruling parties in Penang will have a hard time to explain to their voters and supporters why they lost if they were to be defeated by the BN in Permatang Pasir as this would be a personal blow to Anwar Ibrahim.

Some 20,290 voters are expected to vote in the by-elections. As at 12. 15 PM some 29 percent of the voters had already cast their votes and the PAS is saying it has already won the seat. The candidates are Rohaizat Othman, 38 for the BN and Mohd Salleh Man, 52 for the PAS. Some 72.36 percent of the voters are Malays, 25.85 percent Chinese and 1.63 percent Indians. The 'others' forms 0.16 percent of the local electorate.