Gua Musang which at one time was "liberated" by the Malaysian Communist Party is now the stage for the latest by election a showdown between UMNO and PAS, two hardcore Malay party fighting over a state seat in Galas which happen to be one of the constituency in Gua Musang. Kelantan the PAS stronghold is headed by none other than Nik Aziz Nik Mat the legendary Tok Guru of the east coast spiritual leader of the Islamic party should have the upper hand here since it is their home turg. Though as venerable as Nik Aziz may be PAS had never managed to penetrate nor unseat the godfather of Gua Musang - Tengku Razaleigh Hamzah. Only in 2008 did PAS managed to cause a slight dent in KuLi's armour by capturing Galas with a slim majority thus now, more than ever, UMNO headed by KuLi is determined to recapture Galas.
Godfather of Gua Musang
Though Ku Li did ruffle some feathers with his stance on the state oil royalty issue, BN leaders decided that it's best to let him run the show, after all he has been the UMNO's Division Chief for the last 50 years which speaks volume of his influence here in Gua Musang.
Note the scarf "Ambo Nok Parti Ku Li" - I support Ku Li's Party. It wasn't always UMNO you see, at one time it was Semangat 46.
I came to Galas under the machinery of Pemuda UMNO, I wanted to come with Puteri but they rejected my application. If you folks think that UMNO boys have it easy with hotel rooms and fancy SUV's well guess what, I thought so too, until I got here and it seems that Proton and cheap hostel is the Pemuda roll. Well at least not when the room rates of various 1 and 2 stars hotel here skyrocketed to Hilton standard.
Unlike before, recently Pemuda has taken a rather different path, maybe it was because of the lesson we learned back in 08 but Khairy Jamaluddin is taking a different approach when it comes to campaigning. Started off with the recent launching of Jom 1 Malaysia in Gombak it seems that Pemuda nowadays are more concentrated on solving micro, daily bread and butter issues more than marches, demonstration or ceramahs. This can be seen with the various forums organised by BN Youth (MTUC minimum wage, BN Youth Lab) which are more issue centric rather than political in nature.
Caught Rembau/TwitterJaya MP chillaxing with a local.
Apart from the meetup in which Pemuda Leaders drop by coffee shops and mixing with the locals, Giat Mara under the gudance of BN Youth have been offering courses and workshops for rural folks to acquire some skills, from sewing to construction, something like a vocational school.
Kena ceramah dengan Veteran UMNO.
Of course the usual "listening to the rakyat" session, we in BN don't just give ceramah folks, we actually listen and do something about it. Betul tak tipu!
One of the first thing that we learned when arriving upon Gua Musang was that folks here are not really into Big fancy loud things, and by that the usual Ceramah dont go well (in attendance) here. I'm not exaggerating or anything it's just that even big names don't pull much crowd here, be it Nik Aziz or Anwar Ibrahim, the usual crowd puller, somehow loses their charm here where most of their ceramah was attended by fellow party workers.
Tengku Razaleigh focuses more on personal touch and small scales, he highlighted the fact that it's better to talk to say small group of 30 people, who are the real voters rather than holding a gargantuan ceramah with less than 10 percent are actual voters. So you're truly who is beginning to join the speakers unit under Pemuda often finds himself in houses talking to groups of people while trying to pass a decent Kelantan slang "kecek Kelate"
Dah macam MLM pun ada.
MC of the night. This is grassroots politics.
All in all, so far it has been quite a calm by election. Maybe it's too early and things are yet heated up but the usual clash, heated PAS vs UMNO by election is missing. Maybe it's a Gua Musang thing or maybe folks are just too tired of Politics I'm not sure but perhaps it's a good sign that Malaysians are more politically mature these days.
But the battle for Gua Musang, as I see it for now will be not on who can muster people on rallies, ceramah or the number of posters, instead on the party that can persuade voters in a more personal level. By which going to each household, solving problems one by one and focuses more on a two way discussions rather than the usual propaganda machinery. Should be quite a fight seeing that both sides are the government (PAS - State while BN - Federal) and in the end it probably boils down to which one is the better government.
More essays are coming up but before I end this there's one thing I need to do....
UNDILAH En. Abdul Aziz Yusof CALON BARISAN NASIONAL