Nurul confident she can draw PAS members to support her

Nurul Izzah Anwar with state seat candidates Dr Afif Bahardin (left), Norlela Ariffin (second from right) and Faiz Fadzil in Penanti, Penang, Sunday.

BUKIT MERTAJAM: PKR vice-president Nurul Izzah Anwar remained cautiously optimistic over her chances in the Permatang Pauh parliamentary seat, despite it being a PKR stronghold for the past two decades.

She is concerned over a low voter turnout due to the Wednesday polling day and those voters who have not made up their minds on who to vote for.

To counter this, she said 60% PKR’s machinery was concentrated in Malay-majority areas.

Nurul said she was also “well aware” of Barisan Nasional’s and PAS’ well-oiled election machinery, saying PKR had spent a lot of time preparing for the polls over the past two years.

“We have worked very hard to win over the BN and PAS voters,” she said at a press conference at Yayasan Aman, Penanti, here today.

Nurul said despite the odds, a large supporter base remains in Permatang Pauh. These are die-hard “Reformasi” supporters happy with PKR’s two state assemblypersons in Permatang Pauh — Dr Afif Bahardin and Norlela Ariffin.

Nurul will face BN’s Mohd Zaidi Mohd Said (left) and PAS’ Afnan Hamimi Taib Azamudden (right) in Permatang Pauh.

She said despite PAS claiming to wield a stronger election machinery, she was confident many of them will vote for a change, especially in Permatang Pasir. We will not take a confrontational stance against them,” Nurul said.

Permatang Pasir’s Amanah candidate Faiz Fadzil agreed with Nurul, saying the PAS grassroots in Permatang Pauh were divided.

He said Permatang Pauh was home to many PAS moderates and will support a Pakatan Harapan candidate to defeat Umno and BN.

He said like all other Malaysians, the PAS supporters, too, are struggling with rising prices of goods and have subscribed to the reformist agenda brought on by Pakatan Harapan.

Faiz said brave PAS members have even quit the party to join Amanah, which he says has a membership of 1,000 in Permatang Pauh alone, compared with PAS’ 2,000 members.

“PAS has been divided since 2015. Even the grassroots are divided, with half of them moving to Amanah.

“The reality is this: PAS has only won one seat, which is Permatang Pasir, after the Reformasi era. Before that, they had not won at all.”

In the coming polls, Nurul will face BN’s Mohd Zaidi Mohd Said, 49, and PAS’ Afnan Hamimi Taib Azamudden, 37.

Zaidi is Permatang Pauh Umno chief, while Afnan is state PAS Youth chief and former Penang Fatwa Council member. Nurul is incumbent Lembah Pantai MP.

There are a total of 74,171 voters in the latest electoral roll in Permatang Pauh, with Seberang Jaya having 31,253 voters, Permatang Pasir 23,583 voters and Penanti 19,335 voters.