KUALA KRAI: Religious, Malay and local issues are set to dominate the Manik Urai by-election, the seventh for the country since the 12th general election 16 months ago.
Located at about the half-way point of Kelantan, Manik Urai will see political giants Umno and PAS battle it out for the votes of the Malay [Malaysian] who form 99.2% of the constituency’s electoral roll.
Manik Urai is a PAS stronghold, and in the upcoming contest the party is pitting 50-year-old fish wholesaler Mohd Fauzi Abdullah against Umno/Barisan Nasional (BN)’s former Kesedar manager Tuan Aziz Tuan Mat.
Both PAS and Umno started their unofficial canvassing for votes about a month ago but the campaign is set to intensify after today’s nomination. For PAS, Manik Urai is a must-retain seat.
Kelantan PAS comes into the by-election while recovering from the party’s recent crisis which saw [PAS] Mursyidul Am (spiritual leader) Datuk Nik Abdul Aziz Nik Mat berating deputy president Nasharuddin Mat Isa for welcoming talks with Umno. Now the party must regain composure and present a united front as it faces the voters in eight days of campaigning.
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This article first appeared on Sunday, 5 July 2009 in www.theedgemalaysia.com under the same title. Used with permission.