It is a straight fight for the Kuala Besut state seat in Terengganu between incumbent Barisan nasional (BN) and PAS.
BN fielded a 37-year civil old engineer Tengku Zaihan Che Ku Abdul Rahman while PAS fielded 48-year old businessman Azlan Yusof and both are local ‘boys’ – one a former civil servant and the other a self-made businessman.
The by-election was called following the death of Dr Abdul Rahman Mokhtar, 55.
Nominations went smoothly in the morning at Dewan Kompleks Rakan Muda with supporters of the two candidates filling up the road in a normally quiet and tranquil town which is the popular and famous gateway to Pulau Perhentian, a paradise island for tourist all over the world.
Tengku Zaihan was accompanied by Deputy Prime Minister Muhyiddin Yassin who is the director of the by-election for BN while Azlan was accompanied by PAS president Abdul Hadi Awang.
The stake is high for both sides of the political divide in this by-election given that if PAS wins, the state will have a ‘hung assembly’ – while BN is hard-pushed to retain the seat – or else risk losing the state.
With just a 17 to 15 seats in the state assembly, BN is not going to take things easy as losing the state or even a ‘hung assembly’ will reflect the ruling coalition’s weakness is ‘sustaining’ its hold, especially it is just about two months ago when the party emerged victorious with a 2,484 majority.
And PAS is also not taking things ‘sitting down’ as it promoted a new approach – having young leaders at the front line – Husam Musa and gang and not the religious fundamentalists leaders such as Abdul Hadi himself, whose bastion is Rusila, about a 100km away from Kuala Besut.