PH-BN pact in Tioman seat

Tough fight: Four of the five candidates who will be vying for the Tioman state seat. (From left) Independent candidate Sulaiman Bakar, Mohd Johari, Pejuang’s Osman Bakar and Nor Idayu.

KUANTAN: The election for the Tioman seat will see a first in political cooperation between two coalitions.

Pakatan Harapan’s election machinery will move together with Barisan Nasional in the Tioman election campaign.

Selangor Mentri Besar Datuk Seri Amirudin Shari, who is Pahang Pakatan chief, and Amanah president Mohamad Sabu are slated to appear in a ceramah in Rompin alongside Pahang Mentri Besar Datuk Seri Wan Rosdy Wan Ismail of Umno, as seen in the latest campaign advertisement.

This unlikeliest of cooperation could be seen as an alliance formed against a common foe in the form of Perikatan.

Hours before polling was set to begin on Nov 19, Tioman’s Perikatan Nasional candidate Md Yunus Ramli died of heart complications and the election was subsequently suspended.

Tioman, which is under the Rompin parliamentary seat, had always been a traditional Barisan stronghold.

But when the results came on polling day, it became clear that the “fortress” had been breached.

The Rompin seat and the Bukit Ibam state seat were snatched by Perikatan, with only Muadzam Shah left in Barisan’s hands.

Now, the battle is on for the Tioman seat, which will be decided on Dec 7.

Its incumbent assemblyman, Datuk Seri Mohd Johari Hussain, 49, is under pressure to defend the seat in a five-cornered contest.

Winning Tioman will put Barisan’s final tally of seats in the state assembly equal to Perikatan’s current haul of 17 seats.

Mohd Johari’s biggest threat is now Perikatan, which fielded housewife Nor Idayu Hashim, 35, as its candidate.

In a dramatic turn of events, while Mohd Johari was on the campaign trail, a new Pahang government was formed through a partnership between Barisan and Pakatan Harapan.

Following this new development, Pakatan candidate Mohd Fadzli Mohd Ramly withdrew his candidacy and decided to support Mohd Johari’s bid to regain the seat.

Parti Amanah Negara secretary-general Datuk Mohd Hatta Ramli said the move was made in the spirit of the newly-formed Pahang state government.

On Perikatan’s side, the coalition knew its wave of victories nationwide came at the backs of young voters who returned home to vote in GE15.

This was not lost on Nor Idayu, who urged outstation voters to return once more to vote in the Tioman election.

She also called on the state government to declare two days of public holiday to allow a bigger turnout of voters.

Rompin MCA chief Lee Yoke Kwang is aware of the impact of the young voters and felt that Barisan must do more to communicate to the public the work they had carried out in Rompin.

This was because young voters had been greatly influenced by social media and had not considered the real situation on the ground.

“Their parents and grandparents who live here in Rompin know that we in Barisan have always been here for the community, but these younger voters may not know that.

“They get swayed by what’s shown on social media and vote without taking into account the work we have done here,” said Lee.

The Tioman election is a crucial test of Barisan’s influence in what was once thought to be its stronghold after the new state government was formed jointly with Pakatan.

The election will also put to test how people feel about this new partnership.

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