TUMPAT: In what is already seen as a low-key campaign for PAS in Pengkalan Kubor, the next few days are likely to be devoid of activities as party leaders concentrate on what is expected to be a tense muktamar.
Unlike the Sungai Limau and Kuala Besut by-elections where PAS took part with much gusto, the campaign for its candidate Wan Rosdi Wan Ibrahim has been a rather subdued affair so far.
Party leaders claim this has been intentional and PAS would rather “campaign quietly” for Wan Rosdi rather than do it with much fanfare.
The party, they said, was more focused on house-to-house visits to canvas for support.
This probably explains why it is hard to catch Wan Rosdi on his campaign rounds, with some local folk claiming that they have yet to catch a glimpse of the candidate.
With PAS’ bigwigs now in Batu Pahat for the party’s annual gathering, it is hardly a surprise if the campaign in Pengkalan Kubor comes almost to a stand still.
At least until Saturday, party president Datuk Seri Abdul Hadi Awang, his deputy Mohamad Sabu or vice-presidents Salahuddin Ayub, Datuk Tuan Ibrahim Tuan Man and Datuk Husam Musa will not be at the nightly ceramah to drum up support for Wan Rosdi.
PAS secretary-general Datuk Mustafa Ali assured the 24,039 voters of Pengkalan Kubor that party leaders had not abandoned the campaign and would be making their rounds when the muktamar is over.
“This by-election is important. Our target is to wrest the seat from Barisan Nasional. It so happens that there is a clash in dates with the muktamar,” he said.
PKR had also assured its Pakatan Rakyat partner that it would help out in the absence of PAS leaders by bringing its own “generals” to the campaign, but so far, those heading this way have not triggered any excitement.
In fact, Penang Deputy Chief Minister Datuk Abdul Rashid Abdullah, central leadership council member Abdullah Sani and Wanita PKR exco member Wan Faezah Ariffin are probably alien to the local folks.
State PKR treasurer Mohd Roslan Puteh said arrangements were “still under way” to get party president Datuk Seri Dr Wan Azizah Wan Ismail, Opposition Leader Datuk Seri Anwar Ibrahim and vice-president Nurul Izzah Anwar to campaign for PAS here.
During the 2008 and 2013 general elections, PKR fielded candidates in Pengkalan Kubor, losing both times to Barisan.
This time, the party decided to make way for PAS, a decision which PKR says is aimed at strengthening cooperation among Pakatan parties.
The Sept 25 polls will determine whether it is Wan Rosdi, Barisan Nasional’s Mat Razi Mat Ail or Independent Izat Bukhary Ismail Bukhary who will be Pengkalan Kubor’s new assemblyman.
At another function, SYED AZHAR reports Pengkalan Kubor PAS election director Datuk Wan Abdul Rahim Wan Abdullah as warning that any member who suggested a merger or unity government with Umno would incur the wrath of its spiritual adviser, Datuk Nik Aziz Nik Mat.
“The only way for Umno to merge with PAS is when Tok Guru passes away. He will never allow it and that is why no one dares to even suggest it,” he said, adding that PAS had also decided to keep their ceramah venues a secret to avoid “sabotage”.