PETALING JAYA: The battle among candidates contesting the Sungai Buloh federal seat in Selangor is to win the hearts and minds of Malay voters, who form the majority.
Incumbent PKR MP Sivarasa Rasiah is reaching out to PAS members and supporters to ensure a comfortable victory.
“I hope they cast their ballots tomorrow based on their conscience,” the human rights lawyer told FMT in an interview.
He alleged that the Umno-led Barisan Nasional (BN) was using PAS to win more Parliament and state seats in order to recapture the Selangor government.
“The current PAS leadership appears to have given a lifeline to Prime Minister Najib Razak to remain in power. However, I hope the majority of the Islamist party’s grassroots members will not follow their leaders,” he said.
Sivarasa, who has been Subang MP (now known as Sungai Buloh) since 2008, claimed the unofficial cooperation between PAS and Umno did not go down well with ordinary members and supporters.
“For years Umno and PAS members were at odds during election campaigns and this cannot change now. This is the feedback I get from them as they also prefer Selangor to remain in the hands of Pakatan Harapan,” he said.
PAS cooperated with PKR and DAP in 2008 and they were voted into power to administer the richest state in Malaysia.
However, due to ideological differences with DAP, PAS left the now defunct Pakatan Rakyat in 2015 and later broke ties with PKR.
However, its 15 assemblymen and three executive councillors were part of the state administration until the dissolution of the state legislature last month.
Sivarasa, who is also a PKR supreme council member, said it was now more difficult for him to win Sungai Buloh due to the racial composition after the redelineation exercise.
This constituency now has about 90,000 voters with Malays making up 65%, Chinese 22%, Indians 11 % and Others 2 %.
“My previous Subang seat with about 128,000 voters was a racially balanced constituency with three state seats,” he said, adding that Bukit Lanjan had now been moved to the Damansara parliamentary constituency.
Sungai Buloh now comprises the Paya Jaras and Kota Damansara state seats.
In 2013, Paya Jaras was won by PAS candidate Khairuddin Othman who is now contesting under the PKR symbol.
Sivarasa, however, said although PAS had fielded candidates for all seats, the return of former prime minister Dr Mahathir Mohamad to lead the PH was a boost.
“Apart from our secure vote bank, we are hoping Umno members who are against Najib will support PH,” he added.
Still, Sivarasa said, he would not be complacent as “every vote counts as the race for Sungai Bulog will be tight.”
Sivarasa is engaged in a four-cornered battle with Pakas Rao Appalanaidoo (BN), Nuridah Mohd Salleh (PAS) and Zainuriizzaman Mohram (PSM).