Young people gave BN Besut victory

Even though PAS candidate Azaln Yusof was “more appealing among local residents” BN’s unwavering machinery swayed voters, said a UiTM analyst. 

(Bernama) – The decision of voters in retaining Barisan Nasional (BN) in Kuala Besut is a sign of unanimous support for Prime Minister Najib Tun Razak’s agenda.

Fulfilling the prediction that Kuala Besut is a BN stronghold, the win strengthened the position of Umno as the largest party of the Malay community and re-inforced its stance that it has Malay support.

The by-election, which was held following the death of BN incumbent Dr A. Rahman Mokhtar, saw a straight fight between two Malay parties – BN and PAS –  which further proved that the process of democracy in the country is very much alive.

The victory of BN’s Tengku Zaihan Che Ku Abd Rahman, 37, a civil engineer with a 2,592-vote majority against his challenger from PAS, Endot @ Azlan Yusof, 48, a businessman, also maintained the status quo in the state legislative assembly.

Terengganu has 32 state seats with BN holding 17 seats while the opposition coalition Pakatan Rakyat has 15 seats. PAS has 14 and PKR holds one.

In the 13th general election (GE13) on May 5, Dr Rahman won with a majority of 2,434 votes, beating Napisah Ismail of PAS.

According to political observers, the result signaled the people’s desire for stability in the administration and development of Terengganu.

Cooling the hot warring politics, the by-election result showed the maturity of voters in understanding the current political scenario and its effects on them.

If BN had lost, the number of seats between BN and the opposition would have been tied at 16 each.

The result also ended speculation as the little by-election could have had major implications on the landscape of politics for both parties.

Political analyst, Che Hamdan Che Mohd Razali said the government’s political development and commitment agenda to bring modernisation to rural areas continued to obtain affirmative response from the people here.

‘Che Long more appealing but…’

The Universiti Teknologi MARA (UiTM) political science senior lecturer in Dungun said the voting trend in the rural area was unchanged with voters placing high confidence in BN.

“Eventhough from the popularity of candidates, Che Long (PAS candidate) appeared more appealing among local residents but the unwavering BN machinery headed by the Deputy Prime Minister (Tan Sri) Muhyiddin Yassin and (Datuk Seri) Idris Jusoh, a local leader, helped sway the advantage to Tengku Zaihan,” he said when contacted by Bernama.

Kuala Besut has about 22,986 residents with an area of 41 sq kilometres comprising mostly fishermen.

BN’s victory has brought a much bigger development agenda to the people of Kuala Besut especially the deepening of the Sungai Besut river mouth project which involves constructing a one kilometre wave breaker wall.

It will be a major catalyst to the economy of Kuala Besut.

The proposed Gerbang International Tourism project will also benefit villagers in the fishing community and raise their socio-economic standard.

BN’s political development strategy, said Che Hamdan, succeeded in gaining the confidence of voters that the development agenda will be implemented when the government is stable.

The Kuala Besut state seat which has 17,683 registered voters saw 14,108 voters or 80 per cent turning out to vote compared to 86.7 per cent in GE13.

Elaborating on this, Universiti Islam Antarabangsa (UIA) law lecturer, Assoc Prof Dr Shamrahayu Abdul Aziz said the high voter turnout showed the fishing community was politically savvy.

“This demonstrates the seriousness of voters as the by-election was held during Ramadan and on a working day and the voters have indeed carried out their responsibility well,” she said.

‘No major issues in campaign’

Some political observers concluded that Malaysians were aware that it was only through the ballot box that the practice of parliamentary democracy of the country could be changed and manifested.

The win by BN was very meaningful to Umno.

In this regard, Shamrahayu said the increased majority obtained by BN’s candidate showed positive support for BN and Umno as the Malay party continued to strengthen its position.

“Kuala Besut voters saw Umno which represented BN as hardworking in the by-election.

“Generally, PAS was not strong and there were no major issues in the campaign,” she said.

The acceptance of Tengku Zaihan proves the attempt by BN to introduce young candidate who could look into the problems faced by the people is palatable with the residents.

Umno and BN should be proud of Tengku Zaihan as he was a manifestation of the political transformation of Umno to get more youth involvement.

It shows young people can contribute to BN’s victory as the Kuala Besut demography had 55 per cent young voters aged between 21 and 39 years.

In line with BN slogan,’ Kuala Besut getting bluer’, the blue wave has indeed landed in Kuala Besut to bring development and progress to change the fate of the local residents.