ALOR STAR: The term “political tsunami” became a cliché in Malaysian news reporting only after the 2013 general election, but something that would have fit the description had already happened in 2008, when the opposition denied Barisan Nasional its customary two-third majority in Parliament as well as its rule over five states.
One of the states that fell to the opposition was Kedah, where PAS won 16 of the 36 state seats, PKR won four and DAP one. Of the 15 parliament seats in the state, BN won four, PAS six and PKR five.
Kuala Kedah was one of the parliament seats that PKR won and has retained since. It has close to 100,000 registered voters, and the incumbent MP, Azman Ismail, says his party has a “very good chance” of winning it again in GE14, the new electoral boundaries notwithstanding.
“The voters in Kuala Kedah want a party that represents them well at the national level and I think they appreciate what we have done so far,” he told FMT.
“People in Kuala Kedah are generally very supportive of Pakatan Harapan, and they are giving us a lot of support in all our preparation work for GE14.”
Azman, who is deputy chairman of Kedah PH, claimed that Pakatan had been keeping its ears close to the ground and was aware of the problems that concern the constituents. Among these, he said, were issues concerning the economy and unemployment, padi farming, fisheries and the ubiquity of squatters in the district.
“We have been engaging with Kuala Kedah voters on these issues since 2008,” he said.
With PAS having announced its intention to contest in all the parliamentary constituencies in the state, a three-corner fight in Kuala Kedah is inevitable. But Azman said this would have little effect on PKR’s chances.
“We still have a good chance of retaining Kuala Kedah in a three-corner fight because there is a lot of support from the Malays for PPBM,” he said. “That will be enough to make up for the loss of votes from PAS members.”
As of GE13, Kuala Kedah’s racial make up is 78% Malay, 21% Chinese and 1% Indian.
In GE13, Azman defeated Umno’s Zaki Zamani Abd Rashid with a 4,947-vote majority.