Barisan in upbeat mood as 20,000 voters go to the polls
PETALING JAYA: It is polling day today for the nearly 20,000 voters in Merlimau and Kerdau, after more than a week of campaigning and blistering attacks between the Barisan Nasional and PAS in the fight for the two seats.
The ruling party is confident it will retain the seats it won in the 2008 general election. It aims to increase the majority though.
On the other hand, for PAS – supported by PKR and DAP – it would be a victory of sorts if it could reduce the Barisan’s majority, a bonus if it wins either seat and a bonanza if it wins both seats.
The outcome lies in the ballots that will be marked by the voters – more than 10,600 in Merlimau and nearly 9,000 in Kerdau – who have heard both sides telling their stories right up to the midnight deadline yesterday.
Like the hot weather over the past week or so, campaigning in Merlimau had been rather steamy.
Barisan candidate Roslan Ahmad made a boo-boo when he campaigned on a motorbike without wearing a helmet. A picture of this appeared in a Malay daily the following day.
Fearful of the Opposition pouncing on this as an issue, Roslan and his wife were pictured the next day on a motorbike wearing helmets.
It was also embarrassing for PAS candidate Yuhaizad Abdullah, who unwittingly handed out carnations to Chinese voters on one of his walkabouts. Carnations are usually associated with Chinese funerals.
His error was pointed out by DAP officials and Yuhaizad was seen handing out roses the following day.
The hottest incident was the appearance of leaflets depicting doctored photographs of Pakatan leaders in compromising sexual poses early in the campaign.
Also steamy was the appearance at a ceramah of Ummi Hafilda Ali, the sister of PKR deputy chief Azmin Ali. Her no-holds barred and somewhat explicit account of Opposition Leader Datuk Seri Anwar Ibrahim drooled the crowd.
In Kerdau, Barisan’s pick is Syed Ibrahim Syed Ahmad, a special religious officer to the Pahang Mentri Besar.
Quantity surveyor turned businessman Hassanuddin Salim, who is also PAS Pahang information chief, is his party’s candidate.
The campaign trail in Kerdau extended to nearby towns like Mentakab, where party supporters from both sides persuaded voters living outside the constituency to return home to vote.
Despite the less than bright outlook for PAS, the party and its Pakatan Rakyat partners are still holding on to some glimmer of hope that voters in Kerdau will vote for change.
On the whole, the campaigning process in both constituencies has been free of major incidents, according to the Election Commission.