PAS is struggling to keep its presence in the Kuala Besut state felt as the party is slowly slipping away from the race to take Kuala Besut state constituency from Barisan Nasional (BN) to deny the BN the state government.
With just three days to polling which is fixed on Wednesday, the party election machinery continues its best trying to attract audiences who are voters to its numerous nightly ceramah but the response is luke warm and at times cold.
The party speakers who included party president Datuk Seri Abdul Hadi Awang and deputy president Mohad Sabu had tried raising national issues such as corruption and white elephant projects around Terengganu but to no avail.
The locals, who are majority fishermen and farmers, are more interested in the daily bread and butter issue that included the need for water breaker at the jetty where they can berth their trawlers safely from the monsoon wind.
They are simple folks who are considered religious as mosques and suraus can been seen at a space of 100 meters from each other, reflecting the deep religious culture among them.
Leading a simple life where the only presence of Chinese shops are at the Kuala Besut town where the jetty to Pulau Perhentian is located.
The only Automatic Teller Machines (ATM) available is Bank Simpanan Nasional (BSN) which several shopkeepers complain that this makes them uncomfortable as ATMs of other banks are available only at Jertih, about 20km away.
PAS had been dominant in this border town of Terengganu and Kelantan as some half of the 31,312 population here can be considered as Kelantanese where 17,679 of them are voters in Kuala Besut.
PAS influence however eroded slowly when at the height of the ‘battle of influence’ between the party and Umno split the people and families where two imams and separate mosques and suraus prevailed.
That was in the eighties but now those incidents were the past and the present Kuala Besut is a serene and tranquil flat land where wooden stilt houses blend with modern brick houses, still retaining the kampong and the coastal environment and landscape.
Given the background, PAS old approach of religious issues and Pakatan Rakyat (PR) approach on government’s alleged corruption and scandals do not go down well with the locals.
In fact, BN does not play up of scandals of opposition leaders in the last eight days of campaigning and instead, focus on projects and housing for the locals.
After 10 days of campaigning, tame and mild, BN leads with leaps and bounds, leaving PAS far behind where even locals opined that BN’s majority would be higher, around 3,500 compared to three months ago 2,434 votes.
– BERUANG BIRU