PAS: Kuala Besut seat is ours, PKR ‘doesn’t understand’

Sean Augustin,

PAS today accused PKR of failing to understand the situation with regard to the Kuala Besut state constituency after the latter declared its intention to stand there in the pending by-election, reigniting a dilemma that often dogs Pakatan Rakyat.

PAS secretary-general Datuk Mustafa Ali said such issues should never even surface, arguing that the party that contested for the seat in the 13th general election should be the one fielding the candidate for the opposition coalition.
On May 6, Barisan Nasional’s Dr A Rahman Mokhtar defeated PAS’ Napisah Ismail by a 2,434 majority. A Rahman, who died last week from lung cancer, won the seat with 8,809 votes.
Terengganu PKR chairperson Azan Ismail is reported to have said that the party had potential candidates to contest the seat in the by-election.
Azan said that to strengthen the opposition’s hold in Terengganu, it would be beneficial for PAS to consider a PKR candidate.
PKR deputy president Azmin Ali, meanwhile, pointed out that PKR had won the seat in 1999. Mustafa however insisted that the seat should go to PAS. 
“We don’t think he (Azan) was serious when he made that statement,” he told Sinar Harian Online. “The question should not even arise. He does not understand about the seat”. 
Mustafa was confident that Terengganu PAS had qualified candidates to defeat BN’s choice, although as the date for the by-election has yet to be announced, PAS headquarters has not asked for a list of names.
In a related report by Sinar Harian, Azmin deemed the battle for the Kuala Besut seat a “critical” one, as it could determine who administers the state.
Speculations were rife that should BN lose Kuala Besut , there was a possibility the state would see a hung assembly, although state PAS leaders have poured cold water on such probabilities.
BN retained Terengganu by a simple majority of 17 seats against the opposition’s 15 for the 32-seat state assembly.
While Azmin did not discount the possibility of a PKR candidate being named for the seat, he however said the decision would be made at the Pakatan leadership council meeting which will be held soon.
The public tussle for seats among the opposition coalition is nothing new, with such incidences reported in Sabah and in Selangor before the May 5 polls.