REMBAU – April 10, 2019: The relatively scarce campaign banners of Pakatan Harapan’s candidate for the Rantau by-election, Dr S. Streram, have only one design.
Abundantly hung only in certain areas, especially in Rantau town and nearby housing estates, the banners feature him sandwiched by PKR president Datuk Seri Anwar Ibrahim and Prime Minister Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad.
On the other hand, the banners of Barisan Nasional candidate, Datuk Seri Mohamad Hasan, which are numerous and could be found all over the constituency feature several designs, with the most prominent being Mohamad sporting an affable smile whilst giving a thumbs up.
However, PKR member, Ismael Hamid, who came to Rantau from Alor Star to campaign for Streram, was not worried because according to him, the flags and banners are not important.
“Can you tell me when Pakatan has ever beaten BN when it comes the number of flags and banners?” was Ismael’s rhetorical question yesterday.
Nonetheless, it is learnt that the lack of Streram banners is likely due to the boycott by local PKR members, who two months ago warned party higher-ups against fielding the Johor-born candidate.
Yusrizal Taib of Kampung Linsum said the dissatisfaction of local PKR members was palpable when Anwar announced Streram’s candidacy last month.
Some party members, added Arif Mahmud of Kampung Sega Hulu, had even planned to vote for Mohamad to punish the leadership for fielding a “parachute candidate”.
Last month, 396 PKR members from 11 branches in Rantau openly challenged the party’s decision, insisting that PKR should field a Malay candidate as Rantau is a Malay-majority constituency.
Despite that, a PKR member from Kuala Lumpur, Yanti Shukor, insists that the anti-Streram groundswell has subsided.
“Tanggam is the only one left protesting,” said Yanti, referring to Rantau PKR branch chief R. Tanggam, who objected to Streram’s candidacy due to the latter’s so-called on-and-off presence in the constituency.
“His (Tanggam) ongoing protest is hardly surprising because he wanted to contest,” she added.
However, some members of Rantau PKR, who requested anonymity, said that they were still considering who to vote for.
“Mohamad is a respectable figure here and we don’t really know much about Streram but if the latter loses, Rantau will probably be deprived of development. It’s a rather tough choice to make,” said one.
The four-cornered by-election was necessitated after the Federal Court upheld the decision of the Seremban Election Court which had declared Mohamad’s unopposed victory in the general election on May 9 last year as null and void.