KUALA LUMPUR: The Rantau by-election will be the biggest challenge for Barisan Nasional’s (BN) candidate Datuk Seri Mohamad Hasan 63, as he is not only expected to retain the hot seat but to ensure that he will get a bigger majority considering he is the incumbent state assemblyman since 2004.
Being the Deputy President of UMNO and simultaneously carrying out the UMNO President’s duties as well as the Chairman of Barisan Nasional (BN), Mohamad or known as Tok Mat will be the main focus for all Malaysians on the polling’s result on 13th April.
The burden is not only to be shouldered by Mohamad alone but the BN as a whole as this by-election result will in a way design the “road map” of UMNO and BN `s come back to power in the coming 15th General Election (GE).
The combined effort of PAS-UMNO in the last two by-elections for Parliament seat in Cameron Highlands and State Assembly seat in Semenyih within this year (2019) which saw BN candidates won gracefully have proven that the strategies of the two dominant Malay political parties are well received by the voters.
Apart from having winnable candidates, BN with experienced election machineries after 60 years leading the government tries to obviously use all its resources to grip Rantau for its third victory after Cameron Highlands on 26th January and Semenyih in early March.
Talking to many Malaysians, Malaysia World News reporter realized that many people, particularly the Malays, feel that BN will win comfortably, due to the fact that some of them are not satisfied with Pakatan Harapan performance and promises.
Mohamad will be facing Pakatan Harapan (PH) candidate Dr. S. Streram who is the PKR Deputy Chief of Rembau Branch and two others.
The other two who will be contesting as independent candidates are former lecturer of the Teacher Education Institute Raja Melewar Campus, Mohd. Nor Yassin, 67, and a housewife R. Malarevizhi, 51.
Based on the netizens’ comments on social media and from general public’s opinion for the past weeks, they assume that the BN candidate is on the advantage on several points.
Mohamad, who was the former Menteri Besar of Negeri Sembilan (NS), is said to be a well-known figure with good personality, approachable and well accepted by the local multi-racial communities.
However, in a statement recently, Mohamad said that it will be a difficult task for him this time as he is contesting against Dr. S.Streram from PH as the ruling party governing the country today.
Based on the past two by-elections where BN had won, the independent candidates this time do not seem to be a threat to Mohamad in Rantau but their presence will still be a challenge as they could make a difference in the number of votes collected and will affect the majority margin for BN.
In another scenerio, a former politician said she wants Mohammad to win the Rantau by-election as he has good track record as an UMNO leader.
“This time I hope the voters in Rantau choose their leader based on the personality and not the party,” she said when asked her opinion on the Rantau by-election.
Generally, at any political election, the most important driving force for a candidate will be what is his/her “selling point” to the voters – whether ideas and suggestions are feasible, practical for the public’s daily lives and would it help the economy of the poor or the B40 category.
The general public will expect to see campaigners from both major political parties being PH and BN highlighting some sensitive issues relating to race, religion and Bumiputra rights.
Human right issues and the PH manifestos that are not being materialised since they took over the government in May 2018 are expected to be surfaced in the political campaigns held before the polling.
Whatever the scenario in Rantau in the coming week, it is everybody’s hope that there will be no serious provocation to the extent that it will cause disharmony and destabilising the unity of the local people.
The by-election in Rantau was triggered following a Federal Court decision to uphold an earlier ruling by the Election Court to nullify the results for Rantau.
Mohamad who was a three term Rantau Assemblyman won the state seat unopposed in the 14th GE after Dr. Streram was denied entry to submit his nomination papers as he did not have a tag or pass.
Election Court Judge, Azimah Omar allowed Dr. Streram’s petition for a by-election based on the fact that Mohamad’s election victory was not valid.
The Rantau polls is the seventh post GR14, and the third to be held in 2019 after Cameron Highlands and Semenyih.
For the Rantau by-election, there are 20,926 registered voters (20,804 normal voters, 118 early voters and four voters living abroad).
According to race component Rantau has 55.11 percent or 11,283 Malays; Chinese 18.80 percent or 3,849 and Indians 26.06 percent or 5,336 and others 0.02 percent or four.–Malaysia World News