COMMENTARY, Aug 22 — DAP jumps into the Slim by-election campaign today to help Pejuang candidate Amir Khusyairi Mohamad Tanusi, who seems to be overwhelmed by the fast-paced campaign run by Barisan Nasional (BN) and PAS under the Muafakat Nasional (MN) umbrella.
The party’s youth wing will begin its campaign tonight while the women’s wing will join tomorrow; this may force MCA to double its efforts to win the Chinese voters.
MCA’s election machinery seems to be having problems wooing the 2,300-odd Chinese voters for BN’s Mohd Zaidi Aziz, which was exactly what happened in the 2018 general elections.
Despite MCA president Datuk Wee Ka Siong’s hard work, the Chinese voters do not seem convinced.
DAP and Parti Keadilan Rakyat (PKR) had stayed out of the campaign began officially on August 15 as both parties, in particular PKR, did not want to have anything to do with former Prime Minister Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad’s Parti Pejuang Tanah Air or Pejuang.
Dr Mahathir fielded Amir Khusyairi in what many say is a test to gauge whether he has the support of Malay voters which comprises 74 per cent of the 23,000-odd voters in the Slim seat.
Amir Khusyairi, who hails from Bagan Datuk, is struggling to make inroads in the constituency as he is not only fighting an uphill task in the MN bastion, but worse, he has no election machinery at all.
His new party had just filed for registration and he does not even have a branch of the party in the area.
DAP and PKR had left him alone because at the national level, PKR president Datuk Seri Anwar Ibrahim had stopped any political co-operation with Dr Mahathir while DAP seems to be on the fence.
However, they decided to help Amir Khusyairi probably to show the comradeship of the Opposition bloc or to test the waters on Chinese voters’ sentiments given that party secretary-general Lim Guan Eng was recently charged with corruption and abuse of power.
It may also be that DAP wants to protect Dr Mahathir’s reputation as Malay voters are expected to ignore him and his party, so at least the Chinese voters are still with him.
PKR, which seems to have the support of the 3,000 Indian voters in the constituency, is staying out though.
DAP’s involvement will add colour and excitement to the campaign for sure.
Parti Amanah Negara (Amanah) president Mohamad Sabu is also expected to make an appearance tonight.