The Opposition has demanded that Adnan be reprimanded and give an immediate and unconditional
Adnan's reply that he was merely reacting to the “abuses and extreme
harassment by aggressive PAS
supporters'' was unacceptable, they argued.
They pointed out that Adnan, as Mentri
Besar, should behave in a more dignified
It won't be easy for Barisan to defend
Adnan simply because there is a
rudimentary notion of what is wrong and
right, what is standard and acceptable
Some people feel that Adnan should
express remorse. Perhaps, then, his
display of unhappiness can be deemed a human
By coming clean, the heat on Barisan
will dissipate. By being defensive,
Adnan is not going to help the voters
forget the action.
However, the blame should not fall
solely on Adnan. The rowdy and abusive
behaviour of many PAS supporters,
despite their moral high ground, should not be ignored in this
None of the many opposition leaders
present saw it fit to restrain their supporters from verbally abusing the Prime
Minister and others.
The controversy has added some spice to
the campaign but the 15,276 voters
should not lose sight of the larger
issues at stake when they cast their
votes on April 1.
Although a victory for Barisan or PAS
would not make any difference to the political equation in the state, the decision of the voters would have an impact on the directions of
With its victories in Kelantan and
Terengganu, PAS is determined to continue pushing the Green Tide in another east coast state.
A win for PAS will be a boost to the
Islamist party which has pledged to set
up an Islamic state. That is what the
MCA has never failed to emphasise to the
34% Chinese voters in their campaign.
Concerned with feedback that Chinese
voters see the by-election as a Malay
political fight, Barisan has urged the
community to come out in full force on
The MCA has painstakingly explained to its listeners that they have a choice of “a moderate Malay and an
In an attempt to project a more secular
and accommodating image to non-Muslims,
PAS has fielded Datuk Hishamuddin Yahya,
a British-trained lawyer and businessman.
Umno has placed its bets on religious scholar Redzwan Harun, which PAS campaigners have tried to discredit.
Allies of PAS, the DAP and Parti Keadilan
Nasional, seem to think that the Chinese
have adopted a more conciliatory tone to
PAS following the general election.
They say the PAS-led governments of Kelantan and Terengganu have been fair and liberal to minorities. Of
course, no mention is made about the
kharaj tax on non Muslims.
If Adnan's hand gesture is a talking point, the MCA has highlighted to the community certain PAS banners with the
words Tolak Secularisme (Reject Secularism) on nomination day.
MCA campaigners believe they can deliver
the Chinese votes. Adnan has also announced development allocations of
RM500,000 each to all new villages in
Pahang, a move which will go down well with Chinese voters.
But the support of the Chinese alone
isn't enough because the Malays make up 59.1% of the electorate.
Barisan hopes that its method of meeting
small groups of voters in their homes
will be more effective than hodling
ceramahs. Last week, Datuk Seri Abdullah
Ahmad Badawi turned up at the homes
of villagers to listen to their
problems and views.
If the PAS brand of politics and
religion is an issue among the
Chines community, it has not escaped the Malay audience either.
The Deputy Prime Minister's message to
Malay voters is that PAS is not Islam
and that the argument that one party was Islamic and the other apostate was not logical when
both parties practised Islam.
Pak Lah has repeatedly told his
listeners in Sanggang that he too
would like to go to heaven, and that
by supporting Umno it doesn't
mean he would go to hell, as some
PAS leaders preach.
The Islamic Studies graduate from
Universiti Malaya, comes from a family
of Islamic scholars. Pak Lah's late
grandfather was a prominent and
respected religious scholar who remained
faithful to Umno throughout his
His supporters have never failed to
impress upon others that despite his
Islamic credentials, he has never claimed to be an Islamic scholar. Neither
does he need to sport a goatee or wear a
jubah to display his religious
commitment, preferring moderation and a low-key approach.
Pak Lah's presence in Sanggang has
helped allay fears among some Chinese
that Umno will try to counter PAS'
fundamentalism by becoming more Islamic
to gain back lost ground.
With just a week to go before polling
day, both Barisan and PAS will be
channelling their efforts on the 1,500
new voters and those who need more