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Sunday March 9, 2008

PAS gets a stronger grip on Kelantan

PAS retains Kelantan 

KOTA BARU: PAS has strengthened its hold on Kelantan with an almost clean sweep of the state. 

We did it: Nik Aziz is all smiles at the press conference after PAS almost achieved a clean sweep of the state.
Official results showed that the Islamist party clinched 38 of the 45 state seats, which gives it a two-thirds majority victory. PKR won one state seat. 

In 2004, PAS won the state by only a two-seat margin with razor-thin victories in a number of seats. 

This time around, the majority ranges in the thousands, compared to single and double digit wins in 2004.  

PAS spiritual adviser Datuk Nik Aziz Nik Mat (Chempaka), vice-president Datuk Husam Musa (Salor) and Datuk Takiyuddin Hassan (Bunut Payung) all won their state seats. 

As for the parliamentary seats, PAS and PKR, which have an electoral pact, swept 12 of the 14 seats: PKR won in Tanah Merah, Ketereh and Machang. 

PAS strategist Datuk Abdul Wan Rahim Wan Abdullah beat Datuk Seri Najib Tun Razak’s political secretary Datuk Fatmi Salleh to take the Kota Baru parliamentary seat with a thumping majority of 11,288 votes. 

Barisan Nasional’s top pick Datuk Dr Awang Adek Hussin lost the contest for the Bachok parliamentary seat to PAS deputy president Nasharuddin Mat Isa. Dr Awang also failed to wrest the Perupok state seat from incumbent Datuk Omar Mohammed. 

Another top leader who took a beating was state Barisan chairman Datuk Annuar Musa, who was denied the Ketereh parliamentary seat by newbie Ab Aziz Ab Kadir from PKR. 

PKR strategist Saifuddin Nasution Ismail beat incumbent Datuk Sazmi Miah by 1,460 votes to gain the Machang parliamentary seat. 

Former Umno leader Datuk Ibrahim Ali, who was sacked from the party, will be back in Parliament. He contested in Pasir Mas under a PAS ticket and defeated his Umno opponent Ahmad Rosdi Mahmud by 8,991 votes. 

PAS also made significant inroads into Barisan strongholds. In Gua Musang, PAS took the Galas state seat and in Kuala Krai, it claimed the Guchil, Mengkebang, Dabong and Manek Urai state seats. 

Umno’s Tengku Razaleigh Hamzah and Datuk Mustapa Mohamed retained their Gua Musang and Jeli parliamentary seats respectively. 

Mustapa secured a majority of 4,436 votes, while Tengku Razaleigh won by 4,394 votes. 

Dr Awang Adek, who was the Barisan’s choice to lead the state should the coalition wrest the state from PAS, said he would take a rest from politics. 

“We have been badly defeated in Kelantan. We have to respect the decision of the people,” he said.  

“The results are shocking because of the extent of our defeat.”  

Jeli MP Mustapa said: “The decision of the people in Kelantan was unexpected based on the feedback that we received. We were told that we were gaining ground and now we are back to square one.” 

State Umno Information head Datuk Md Alwi Che Ahmad, who won the Kok Lanas state seat, said all in Umno including himself must take full responsibility for the heavy defeat in Kelantan. Md Alwi, however, expected the coalition to bounce back. 

PAS secured its first state seat (Kijang) unopposed on nomination day when the Barisan candidate was disqualified because he was a bankrupt. 

The six state seats won by Barisan are Pengkalan Kubor (majority of 100 votes), Bukit Bunga (348 votes), Kok Lanas (580), Kuala Balah (1,381), Nenggiri (2,090) and Paloh (2,833). 

Voter turnout in Kelantan was one of the highest in the country at 80.84% for state and 82.57% for parliament.  

Related Story:
Nik Aziz likens big win to a tsunami


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