COMMENTARY, Aug 16 — Campaign for the Slim state by-election has been smooth going for two main contestants — Barisan Nasional (BN)’s Mohd Zaidi Aziz and yet to be registered Parti Pejuang Tanah Air (Pejuang)’s Amir Khusyairi Mohamad Tanusi as they hit the trail for the second day vigorously.
While BN’s polished and strong election machinery organised its candidate’s schedule accordingly to its list of priorities, Amir Khusyari has to move on his own with just a handful of close aides and party leaders.
For Mohd Zaidi, campaigning for votes has been much easier given that he is a local, but for the newbie, Amir Khusyairi gaining voters trust is more of an uphill task.
Amir Khusyairi had to start from the very beginning by introducing himself to the voters, which he did so immediately yesterday as soon as campaigning began.
Amir Khusyairi had his party president Datuk Seri Mukhriz Mahathir lead the house to house campaign last night to first introduce himself and then explain the party’s struggle.
Selling an unknown personality is already something tough even more when you are trying to gain the trust of constituents who were born with BN and PAS already being their brand of politics, knocked in their minds and hearts when they first open their eyes to the world.
Despite being located just 100km away from Kuala Lumpur where the political happenings do not miss the eyes and minds of the city folks, the 23,000 odd voters have been too busy doing their daily chores to put food in the tables for their families to focus or at least pay attention to the political changes and happenings.
A new party led by well known former Prime Minister Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad does not interest them much as they continue to flock to greet and meet Prime Minister Datuk Seri Najib Razak yesterday.
What will happen in the next 10 days is not a privilege to any observer and analyst but what happens today can be a glimpse of what may be seen.
BN has a stronghold on Slim state seat constituents where two big Felda schemes are located — Felda Trolak and Felda Besout — the bastion of Umno and PAS.
Now that the two parties are under one umbrella Muafakat Nasional (MN), and both parties are known to possess effective election machinery, Amir Khusyairi faces rough waters in these areas.
Amir Khusyairi depends totally on Parti Keadilan Nasional (PKR) election machinery which has yet to move since the party is also facing internal problems where the leadership is culling members who oppose the present leadership.
On top of that, party members are not so keen on helping a party led by Dr Mahathir since he had not passed the Prime Minister post to their president Datuk Seri Anwar Ibrahim to the extent the former was willing to resign which led to the downfall of Pakatan Harapan (PH).
Amir Khusyairi’s hope is DAP, as the party still has a hold on the 11 per cent of the Chinese voters which mathematically will not give him victory because the number will only make him not lose his deposit.
The scenario as of Sunday is still not bright for the unregistered Pejuang but the fight has to go on until the last bell on August 29.