PONTIAN: The Tanjung Piai parliamentary by-election campaign is coming to an end after almost two weeks of hard work by candidates to woo supporters since nomination day on Nov 2.
With less than 48 hours left before polling starts this Saturday, candidates are on the ‘final sprint’, doubling down on their efforts to meet voters.
Various leaders from the candidates’ respective parties have also entered the fray, holding meetings, group talks as well as meet and greet sessions with voters at the 27 polling centres in the constituency.
The first seven days of the campaign were somewhat quiet, with few key party leaders heading to Tanjung Piai, however, things began to heat up at the ‘southernmost tip of mainland Asia’ this week.
PKR president Datuk Seri Anwar Ibrahim gave a boost to PH’s campaign by holding casual meets and campaign speeches in several places on Monday.
The presence of the country’s top leader, Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad, who met with the leaders of all 27 PH polling centre chiefs yesterday afternoon, has also given another shot in the arm for the ruling government’s campaign.
Accompanied by his wife, Tun Dr Siti Hasmah Mohamad Ali, the aura of Dr Mahathir’s presence was evident in the campaign event at Kukup Laut last night, in which the Prime Minister set the tone, by inviting voters to the event in a short video several days earlier.
Among the other leaders who have gone down to campaign in Tanjung Piai were Amanah president Mohamad Sabu, DAP secretary-general Lim Guan Eng, Pakatan Harapan Wanita chief Zuraida Kamaruddin as well as senior figures from Bersatu, namely Srikandi chief Datuk Seri Rina Harun and Youth (Armada) chief Syed Saddiq Syed Abdul Rahman
PH deputy president Tan Sri Muhyiddin Yassin, who is also Bersatu president, acknowledged yesterday that the final two days of the campaign were critical, but PH had received a positive response from voters after they listened to the talks and various briefings on government policies.
Barisan Nasional (BN) is also not missing out on the action, with the presence prominent leaders including former prime minister Datuk Seri Najib Abdul Razak, who is currently facing several charges in court, as well as BN chairman and Umno president Datuk Seri Dr Ahmad Zahid Hamidi, BN deputy chairman Datuk Seri Mohamad Hasan and MCA president Datuk Seri Wee Ka Siong.
The Tanjung Piai parliamentary constituency is being held following the death of its incumbent Datuk Dr Md Farid Md Rafik, 42, of PH, on Sept 21, due to a heart complication.
The contest sees a six-cornered fight between PH’s Karmaine Sardini, Datuk Seri Dr Wee Jeck Seng of BN, Wendy Subramaniam (Gerakan), Datuk Dr Badhrulhisham Abdul Aziz (Barisan Jemaah Islamiah Se-Malaysia) as well as two independent candidates, Dr Ang Chuan Lock and Faridah Aryani Abd Ghaffar.
Karmaine has already covered all areas in the parliamentary constituency and the Bersatu Tanjung Piai Division chief will be going house-to-house in the final days of the campaign.
Wee is also meeting up with small groups of voters, noting that the people he met were not merely voters, but his ‘old friends’.
Wendy has also been seen holding casual meets at coffee shops to win over voters, while Badhrulhisham said 1,000 people from his party were expected to help out in the final two days.
Independent candidate Dr Ang Chuan Lock who is using Facebook and face-to-face meetings with constituents believes he still has an open opportunity, as he has received positive support from voters he has engaged with, while Faridah Aryani is confident she has solid support, especially among the B40 income group.
The Tanjung Piai constituency has 52,986 registered voters comprising 52,698 ordinary voters, 280 early voters and eight absentee voters who are abroad. - Bernama