THE 10-day-long campaign period for the Manik Urai by-election has been quite sedate, with few hard issues gaining any traction in this rural constituency in Kelantan.
The campaign trail was peppered instead with the question of Kelantan’s petroleum royalties; the absence of PAS deputy president Nasharuddin Mat Isa from party campaigns until 11 July 2009; fishmongers being upset at the Barisan Nasional‘s slight of their profession; and Deputy Prime Minister Tan Sri Muhyiddin Yassin‘s bridge-or-PAS ultimatum.
Barring those, however, village life proceeded as normal — if one discounts the unique-business-opportunity national attention and the sudden throng of party workers. Stalls purveying party paraphernalia and food have mushroomed all along the main route through Manik Urai. In the villages themselves, many homes have rented out rooms for party supporters and the media.
Daytimes have been filled with merciless sunlight and heat, while evenings have seen rain and ceramah. And households in the constituency of 12,293 voters have greeted visitors representing either PAS or Barisan Nasional (BN) at least once in the 10 days.