KUALA TERENGGANU: PAS will be going all out to defend its stronghold in Marang with its president, Datuk Seri Abdul Hadi Awang, expected to lead the charge to ensure that Rhu Rendang, Alur Limbat and Bukit Payong remain within its fold.
It will also try to wrest Barisan Nasional’s sole state constituency seat in Pengkalan Berangan.
However, in the 14th General Election (GE14), Pas is expected to face its splinter party, Parti Amanah Negara, in the Pakatan Harapan pact, which is expected to field candidates to face off Hadi’s stalwarts.
In GE13, Marang was the only parliamentary constituency in Terengganu where skirmishes were reported when party supporters blocked the trunk road in front of Hadi’s abode in the compound of Rusila Mosque.
This time, things are expected to be even more intense with BN sensing victory in the three-cornered fight in the Bukit Payong and Alur Limbat state seats, with Pakatan Harapan stealing the votes from disgruntled Pas voters.
Pas party workers will, without a doubt, go all out to secure the Rusila state seat and the Marang parliamentary constituency to ensure that their president continues to serve and lead them.
Pas is also expected to direct its election machinery to defend the Kuala Nerus parliamentary seat, as well as the Tepoh, Teluk Pasu and Bukit Tunggal state seats, and will try to unseat Menteri Besar Datuk Seri Ahmad Razif Abdul Rahman in Seberang Takir.
Based on the effort put in by Razif in Kuala Nerus, there is a strong likelihood that BN will regain at least the Tepoh and Teluk Pasu seats.
Pas is vulnerable in Teluk Pasu as it won the seat with a majority of just 109 votes against BN but with Pakatan Harapan acting as spoiler, it has a strong chance of losing this seat to either BN, or Pakatan Harapan, depending on the choice of candidates. The Teluk Pasu seat was once a BN stronghold.
Similarly, Pas won the Tepoh seat with a majority of only 229 votes.
Again, Pakatan Harapan will become the spoiler in a three-cornered contest, with BN expected to regain the support from the constituents.
Action is expected to be intense in Bukit Tunggal. Pas won this state seat with a 652-vote majority in GE13 and with the presence of Pakatan Harapan as the spoiler, this seat can be
lost to BN.
In the Kuala Terengganu parliament and state constituencies, it will be a battle to regain lost pride for BN.
Kuala Terengganu is the only parliamentary constituency where BN lost all seats in GE13, but a glimmer of hope is seen with the presence of Pakatan Harapan in three-cornered contests.
Kuala Terengganu is also where peteh keting is most felt.
Nominating the right candidate and preventing Umno members from bringing down the BN candidate is crucial, even if Pakatan Harapan may succeed in winning some votes.
Pakatan Harapan may nominate its leader, Raja Kamarul Bahrin Shah, to defend the parliamentary seat, which he won under the Pas ticket in GE13. With him falling out of favour among Pas supporters, a window will open for BN to win back the seat.
It seems that in Kuala Terengganu, voters appear to know the character of those chosen as candidates.
For BN to win the Ladang, Batu Buruk, Bandar and Wakaf Mempelam seats, the people’s preference should be the most important criteria.
It will be interesting to see who will represent BN, Pas and Pakatan Harapan in Wakaf Mempelam, a Pas stronghold held by party stalwart Abdul Wahid Endut, who is expected to vacate the seat to new blood from the party ranks.
Invoke Malaysia’s prediction that Pas may lose many seats in Terengganu may be true because of the narrow margins of victory won by Pas in eight state constituencies, which it obtained with less than 1,000 majority votes.