PETALING JAYA: A Terengganu Umno leader claims that thousands of party supporters did not vote at the Kemaman by-election last Saturday as they had become disinterested in elections.
Terengganu Umno deputy chief Nik Dir Nik Wan Ku said this was because they had already cast their ballots twice in the span of a year, at the 15th general election (GE15) last year and the state elections in August.
He also said the actual number of supporters who did not cast their ballots was significantly higher than stated by party president Ahmad Zahid Hamidi.
Nik Dir said an estimated 18,000 traditional Umno supporters had opted against casting their ballots, rather than 10,000 as stated by Zahid.
“There are also Umno supporters who have become disappointed over the cooperation with DAP (in the unity government). They cannot accept it, so they supported PAS this time around,” he told FMT.
Terengganu menteri besar Ahmad Samsuri Mokhtar defended the Kemaman parliamentary seat for PAS on Saturday, defeating his Barisan Nasional rival, Raja Affandi Raja Noor, by 37,220 votes.
Samsuri obtained 64,998 votes while Raja Affandi, a retired general and former defence forces chief, garnered 27,778. This was more than the 27,179-vote majority that PAS candidate Che Alias Hamid received in GE15.
Nik Dir claimed many Terengganu voters now believed that voting for PAS was necessary to get into heaven, adding that Terengganu Umno’s biggest task was to undo that perception.
He also said Terengganu Umno could not address its “weaknesses” in time for the by-election, although he did not elaborate on these weaknesses, adding that it had financial constraints.