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Analyst: Long-term advantage for Sungai Limau victor

Posted: 01 Nov 2013 05:08 PM PDT

(Bernama) - Although the Sungai Limau by-election on Monday poses no threat to the Barisan Nasional (BN) state government, the outcome will impact greatly on BN and PAS in the long term, according to analysts.

Political analyst Associate Professor Dr Mohd Azizuddin Mohd Sani said, regardless of perceptions on the by-election, both parties were still striving vigorously to win.

"If PAS loses, it will be a blow for the party. PAS leaders and members will be demoralised. This will pychologically boost BN, and the people will give a stronger suport, more specifically to the development agenda of Datuk Mukhriz Mahathir, as the new Menteri Besar of Kedah," said Dr Mohd Azizuddin.

He said although the campaigns on both sides were seen as not aggressive, they were actually intense, albeit veiled, because both sides were aware of the local sentiment.

The Universiti Utara Malaysia (UUM) International Studies Faculty Dean said both parties had equal chances on Monday although the seat was said to be a PAS stronghold held by Tan Sri Azizan Abdul Razak since 1995.

He was Menteri Besar for one term from 2008 until the last general election May. He died on Sept 26, necessitating the by-election.

But the facts show that the seat, known as Sala before the general election in 2004, often changed hands between BN and PAS.

PAS in its effort to retain the seat has played up the relations between its candidate Mohd Azam Abd Samat as a protege of Azizan who had family ties with the latter, and had even used Azizan's name and photograph in its campaign.

In the obsession to highlight the close ties between Azizan and Azam, PAS  'doctored' a photograph of a visit to Azizan by two journalists from Sinar Harian in 2011 by putting in a photograph of Mohd Azam over that of one of the journalists, in their pamphlets.

BN candidate, Dr Ahmad Sohaimi Lazim, despite being a senior lecturer at Universiti Pendidikan Sultan Idris, is low keyed, and carries out face-to-face campaigning which meets the taste of the local residents.

For Dr Azizuddin, the BN candidate's strategy is effective compared to that of PAS which mirrored desperation for still using Azizan.

Mukhriz, who is also Kedah BN chairman, recently stated his confidence that BN would be accepted by the people of Sungai Limau because only BN could bring development to the area.

Although BN had failed to win the seat since the 1995 general election, the people must look at BN's determination to develop Kedah after returning to helm the  following the 13th general election in May, he said.

Meanwhile, Kedah PAS commissioner Datuk Mahfuz Omar said according to the latest feedback from the ground, PAS was confident of retaining the seat albeit by a narrower majority of just about 500 votes.

The by-election this time is not only a collision of BN and PAS, not only between Dr Sohaimi and Mohd Azam, but also between Mukhriz and Mahfuz, who had been newly appointed to head their respective parties in the state after PRU13.  



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