SyndicatedMalay MailIn Tambun, Anwar seen on easy path to beating Muhyiddin's Bersatu

In Tambun, Anwar seen on easy path to beating Muhyiddin’s Bersatu

Voters and political analysts have predicted that Pakatan Harapan (PH) Datuk Seri Anwar Ibrahim is likely to win handily despite being “parachuted” in against incumbent Tambun MP Datuk Seri Ahmad Faizal Azumu for the 15th general election.

While acknowledging Parti Pribumi Bersatu Malaysia (Bersatu) deputy president Ahmad Faizal’s contributions to the constituency in his first term as MP, residents who spoke to Malay Mail said Anwar, who is PH’s candidate to be prime minister, represented a bigger vision.

The voters also said PKR president Anwar would have an advantage due to his experience, prominence, greater multiracial appeal, and benefit from the locals’ unhappiness with the repeated political crises in the state.

Aside from Anwar and Ahmad Faizal, Barisan Nasional (BN) is likely to field Tambun Umno chief Datuk Aminuddin Md Hanafiah as its candidate; Aminuddin is the former Hulu Kinta assemblyman who lost to PKR’s Muhamad Arafat Varisai Mahamad in the previous general election.

Fruit seller Law Voon Hing, 53, said that the PH chairman has a high profile that would make him easily recognisable to voters in the seat.

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“Well, everyone knows Anwar. He is a strong leader in PH,” he told Malay Mail, adding that the local community would believe Anwar capable of bringing change to the community if the coalition were to win the election.

Restaurateur Zainuddin Yusof, 49, also noted Anwar’s prominence and said this extended beyond Malaysia, unlike his rivals in the seat.

Anwar is also a very experienced and well-respected politician who has been active since Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad’s first stint as the prime minister in the 1980s, he said.

However, Zainuddin said that the voters would also consider Ahmad Faizal’s service here since winning in 2018, with some harbouring doubts about Anwar’s eventual dedication in serving the community.

“Peja has contributed to constituency. We know he has given some funds for the mosques here and he is also a local,” Zainuddin said when referring to Ahmad Faizal by his nickname.

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According to Mohd Hesam Samsudin, 37, who sells soy milk beverages in Manjoi here, Anwar has the clear advantage on paper, especially with the PKR support growing in the constituency.

“However, the voters in Tambun would want to meet him in person before actually voting for him. He should come to Tambun often,” he said.

However, Zulkefli Hassan, 58, who owns the Lan Kuey Teow stall in Tambun, said Anwar would have to work hard to overcome the constituency’s familiarity with Ahmad Faizal, who will represent Perikatan Nasional.

“If Anwar wins it must be with a very small majority, it maybe because of his popularity and his speech. But he is a stranger, unlike Ahmad Faizal who is a local.

“It’s difficult to say Anwar will surely win as Ahmad Faizal has done a lot for the people here. Bersatu has given a lot aid to the people during the Covid pandemic. Most of the businesses managed to survive because of their help,” he said.

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Under the Tambun parliament constituency are two state seats: Manjoi and Hulu Kinta.

The constituency comprises 67 per cent Malay voters, 20 per cent Chinese, and 11 per cent Indian, with other communities making up the balance.

A voter who only wanted to named Kak Uk said Anwar would have an advantage with the Malay vote split between PH, PN, and BN.

“Anwar is likely to win more non-Malay votes, so, maybe Anwar can get the win. Who knows, he might be the next prime minister. The country needs a change and if he didn’t perform, we can vote him out in the following election,” said the 60-year-old.

Another voter, self-employed Muhamad Adzhar Tajuddin, 35, reached a similar conclusion.

“There is certainly a risk for Anwar to win, but the advantage that the PKR president has is the support of the Chinese and Indian communities who have a population of around 40,000 people in Tambun.

“Anwar only needs around 10 to 15 per cent of Malay votes to win in Tambun. This is what makes it difficult for PN or BN to win because these two parties have to find more support not only from Malay voters but also Chinese and Indian voters,” he said.

Muhamad Adzhar also pointed out that Ahmad Faizal won the previous election by representing PH, and was unlikely to get the coalition’s supporters this time around.

“While Umno doesn’t have much other choice than fielding Aminuddin as their candidate. For me, he can only get votes from Umno supporters,” he said.

Meanwhile, voters Rostani Zainal, 65; Abdul Karim Samad, 68; and another voter who only wanted to be named as Lek said the contest might be too close to predict until November 19.

Property manager Paranan Rajamanickam, 33, said that Anwar has a good chance to win despite contesting in Tambun for the first time, as voters would want to punish Bersatu for its role in bringing down the PH state government they voted in during the 14th general election.

He said Ahmad Faizal was part of Bersatu’s betrayal of PH, which brought down the federal government at the time as well as several state administrations including in Perak.

“People want a stable government and capable leader. For me, I think Anwar is the right person,” he said.

Another voter, Mizalan Ismail, 64, who sells banana fritters, said that people have lost confidence in Ahmad Faizal due to his performance as the Perak mentri besar.

Ahmad Faizal was forced to resign from the position after he lost a vote of confidence in the state assembly.

“People will think twice before voting for him. Why would they want to vote for a failed mentri besar?

“This is why PH has the advantage and they have fielded their best candidate for the seat. Chances are high for them to win,” he said.

In 2018, Ahmad Faizal contested under PH’s ticket and won the seat with majority of 5,320 votes, defeating former second finance minister Datuk Seri Ahmad Husni Hanadzlah and PAS’s Muhamad Zulkifli Mohamad Zakaria.

However, he defected along with Bersatu during the Sheraton Move in 2020, which later formed the PN coalition.

According to Nusantara Academy for Strategic Research (NASR) senior fellow Professor Azmi Hassan, Anwar was only taking a minor risk by trading Port Dickson for Tambun.

Azmi also said that Ahmad Faizal’s failure as the mentri besar will also play a part in voter’s decision.

“Tambun might be not be a safe seat as Permatang Pauh, but it is a safe seat.

“Anwar is likely to get a huge majority. He is a selling point to the voters. Ahmad Faizal and Aminuddin are the ones who at risk here,” he said, adding that the seat could effectively be won by any PH candidate.

University of Malaya Centre for Democracy and Elections (UMcedel) sociopolitical analyst Associate Professor Awang Azman Awang Pawi said Ahmad Faizal would struggle to retain Tambun.

“Despite being Bersatu deputy president, Ahmad Faizal’s popularity is still low even at the party level as Datuk Seri Hamzah Zainudin and Datuk Seri (Mohamed) Azmin Ali are more prominent.

“Anwar will definitely have his own strategies to win the seat because if he loses, it will be an end to his political career. His possible PM post can be a selling point to attract voters,” he said.

For any query with respect to this article or any other content requirement, please contact Editor at contentservices@htlive.comCopyright 2017 Malay Mail Online

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