KUALA TERENGGANU – April 25, 2017: Much like in Kelantan, it appears that Pakatan Harapan will not be much of a factor in Terengganu. And a former high ranking leader of PAS claims to know why this is so.
It is, according to former PAS vice-president Husam Musa, due to a supposedly “I-scratch-your-back-you-scratch-mine” compromise brokered by Barisan Nasional and PAS.
“BN has agreed to give up Terengganu to PAS if the latter creates as many multiple corner contest as possible in the coming elections,” claimed Husam, who is now a vice-president of Amanah, a new party comprising many former PAS elected representatives.
Husam says the deal is obvious to many because PAS keeps on increasing the number of seats it wants to contest on May 9, with the number for the parliamentary seats growing from 40 to 160.
On the surface, Husam’s argument may hold water, given BN’s shaky hold on Terengganu, where the coalition won only four of eight parliamentary seats and 17 of 32 state seats in 2013.
PAS won the remaining half of the seats except for one state seat won by PKR when the parties contested under the now-defunct Pakatan Rakyat pact.
When what Husam said was told to him, PAS candidate for the Pengkalan Berangan state seat, Sulaiman Sulong, flashed a smirk before saying that Husam’s theory was nonsensical.
“Who would want to contest for the sake of losing? If BN really wants to throw the game, then they should just contest in 14 state seats instead of all 32.
“PAS is strong here in Terengganu. We are getting a lot of support from the youths. We don’t need BN’s help to win the state,” said Sulaiman, who contested and lost to BN’s Abdul Latif Awang in GE13.
He however did not dismiss the possibility that talk of the deal may have stemmed from the Islamist party’s decision to opt for a more mature and peaceful political approach.
“We are different now. While our political ideology may differ from BN’s or any other party’s, we do not want to use it as a basis to split society and harm the country’s harmony,” Sulaiman reasoned.
Sharing Sulaiman’s disbelief over Husam’s claim was Kemamam Umno division secretary Rosli Ahmad who retorted that most Terengganites, especially the older generation, have had a bad experience with a PAS-led state government.
In 14 elections, including the one held in 1955 before Merdeka, PAS had bested BN only twice in Terengganu — in 1959 and 1999.
“The most infamous feat that they did when they became the state government was the closure of almost all federal government-funded kindergartens.
“So that is why in the 2004 elections, BN managed to bounce and win back the 28 state seats it had lost in 1999. Terengganites are a bit different from Kelantanese… they know that PAS is just an all talk party,” said Rosli.