Friday, May 30, 2014

'Teluk Intan By-Election, Party Or Candidate?', Bernama, 30 May 2014


By Zuhaifizah Ahmad Zaki

TELUK INTAN, May 30 (Bernama) -- Whether party or candidate will dominate the choice of voters will be known Saturday when more than 60,000 voters go out to fulfil their obligations in the Teluk Intan by-election.

The 12-day campaign period which would end at midnight Friday saw the contesting parties going through a cooling off period on Thursday as a mark of respect for the late Sultan Azlan Shah of Perak who passed away on Wednesday, before campaigning resumed Friday, as though giving the opportunity for voters to think.

Both the candidates, Datuk Mah Siew Keong, 53, from Barisan Nasional (BN) and DAP's Dyana Sofya Mohd Daud, 27, had delivered their respective arguments and manifestos to be evaluated by 60,349 voters in making their respective choices.

Analysts see the Teluk Intan by-election as very competitive and both Mah and Dyana Sofya have the chance, based on their respective credibility and the support to their parties.

To Assoc Prof Dr Sivamurugan Pandian, a political analyst from Universiti Sains Malaysia's School of Social Sciences, candidate and party were a package and as such, if a candidate came from a party with a good structure, it would be an advantage.

Sivamurugan said there would be voters who looked at personalities in any general election, and in this group, there would be fence-sitters who might, apart from looking at the party and candidate, also looked at issues which strongly affected the voting pattern.

Touching on the Teluk Intan by-election, he said, voters must look at a candidate who could contribute to the constituency, could improve the people's well-being and welfare, and committed to developing Teluk Intan rather than just using certain issues.

Teluk Intan Indian Community Non-Governmental Organisation chairman, K. Shanmuganathan, 37, said the candidate's contribution was an important factor to decide who deserved his vote.

Market trader Lim Yit Ling, 50, said he would pick a candidate not party, regardless of whether the candidate was Malay, Chinese or Indian.

Universiti Kebangsaan Malaysia Faculty of Social Sciences and Humanities lecturer, Assoc Prof Dr Shamsul Adabi Mamat said picking the candidate should be a priority to voters in the case of Teluk Intan because the candidate would become the voice of the residents in dealing with the government.

He did not rule out the role of the 30 per cent fence-sitters in the country who had significantly helped the less popular parties in the new political landscape.

Shamsul, who conducted a survey in Teluk Intan, saw the two contesting candidates campaigning in earnest, and their strategies would give them a 50:50 chance of winning.


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