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A little bump along the way

 | March 4, 2011

Some ripples of discontent may spoil the fun in the BN camp as campaigning enters the last two laps.

MALACCA: With polling only two days away, the Barisan Nasional (BN) election machinery in Merlimau has hit a little “bump”.

The snag has somewhat dented BN expectation of securing a higher majority, considering that Chief Minister Mohd Ali Rustam had managed to settle some prickly problems just two days after nomination.

The chief minister met the disgruntled members who were unhappy that their candidate was not chosen to contest. After explaining to them the situation, he went away with the impression that he had every thing under control.

But the discontent still persists.

Mohd Ali is too busy campaigning to notice that the problem has not gone away.

Then, there is loud grumbling among the older folk in Chinchin, Merlimau Pasir and Pengkalan Salak that BN candidate Roslan Ahmad is not a friendly character. His sour face spoils the people’;s mood.

They recalled that all the previous assemblymen were pleasant and easily approachable. There was no barrier separating them.

Roslan’s cold, unsmiling face has put off many senior citizens and this may sway some of them when they cast their ballots on Sunday.

The young voters too are uneasy in the company of Roslan simply because the aspiring candidate is too formal and stiff. They find it difficult to communicate with him in an open manner.

Although these are minor problems, BN campaigners, especially Umno members, fear that people may perceive Roslan as a hostile person who is not suitable to be their representative.

If this happens, BN may find its majority taking a dip.

A campaigner on the ground said: “It’s not that these disgruntled members will vote for PAS; what we fear is that the number of spilt votes may increase.”

“If this happens, our majority may fall, and this will not reflect well on the state BN,” he added.

Cause for concern

The Chinese factor does not seem to be a problem as MCA is expected to deliver at least 50% of the 2,200-odd Chinese votes.

However, the Indian votes are cause for concern because the community feels it has “been sidelined” from the mainstream of development.

“The Indians feel they have no future earning a living in the plantations around Merlimau and this has made them sore.

“Hopefully, the chief minister can work out some solutions for them,” a campaigner said.

Hence, in the two days remaining, Mohd Ali must act fast to win over a segment of the discontented voters if the BN wants to increase its margin of victory.

But political observers say PAS is unlikely to see the disaffected voters crossing the mark for the Islamist party. They would rather spoil their votes or not vote than cast their lot for PAS.


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