Help from Tok Guru Nik Aziz for Zaid Ibrahim

April 22, 2010

Baradan Kuppusamy reports from Hulu Selangor

Help from Tok Guru Nik  Aziz  for Zaid Ibrahim may not be enough

One of the things that is immediately noticeable in the Hulu Selangor by-election is the near absence of campaigners from PAS, the party that usually forms the meat and bones of previous Pakatan Rakyat (PR) campaigns.

After a noisy presence during nomination day, the imported PAS bandwagon moved on and has not returned, leaving the local campaigners from the Islamist party overwhelmed with the task of mobilising hardcore Malay support for PR’s Datuk Zaid Ibrahim.

Zaid is not an easy candidate to sell by PAS leaders to its hardcore supporters, especially with his admission of past transgressions over his drinking and love for race horses. Hardcore PAS supporters in Hulu Selangor, estimated at about 7,000-strong, have flinched at having to shoulder Zaid.

That is why PAS spiritual leader Datuk Seri Nik Aziz Nik Mat is rushing from Mecca to hit the hustings in Hulu Selangor this week to help clean up Zaid’s image and lend his credibility to persuade Malay voters to back PR.

But can the venerated Tok Guru, who left on April 5 for Mecca to perform the umrah, turn the tide for Zaid, especially with Prime Minister Datuk Seri Najib Razak also entering the fray for Barisan Nasional (BN)? Najib’s presence last night in Hulu Selangor has added momentum to UMNO’s campaign among the Malays and given new impetus to BN’s flagging campaign for support from Chinese and Indian voters.

Historical reasons are also working against the Tok Guru. PAS’s presence in Hulu Selangor had always been thin because the state seats in the parliamentary constituency had been held by UMNO giants like Tan Sri Muhammad Muhammad Taib and the late Datuk Zainal Abidin Ahmad, who was an UMNO state executive councillor for 14 years before switching over to PKR in 2006.

They had made sure PAS did not grow in Hulu Selangor although it had a big-time preacher in Datuk Ismail Kamus, a local, who fought the BN’s Datuk G. Palanivel in 2004 but lost heavily by 14,483 votes.

But then the majority was not surprising and had nothing to do with Palanivel personally but had everything to do with the departure of Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad as prime minister and the arrival then of Tun Abdullah Ahmad Badawi, who promised major reforms that never took shape.

After that loss Ismail Kamus went on to become a national figure on the Islamic lecture circuit but PAS failed to put roots in Hulu Selangor which continued as an UMNO bastion. It is largely because of these historical reasons that PAS is weak in Hulu Selangor, except for a minimal presence in Malay villages and Felda settlements in Malay-majority-Hulu Bernam.

Ironically, PAS now has strong support from among the Chinese in the urban centres in Hulu Selangor because of national issues and this was one reason why local PAS leaders wanted to field Ismail again but PKR leaders were quick to announce that the seat would be defended by PKR with PAS assisting.

Importing PAS supporters in the last leg of the by-election to shore up Malay support for Zaid may not work because UMNO had already penetrated the villages months earlier and reconnected with the voters there.

The message from many of the voters in these Malay villages to UMNO was that they would consider voting BN if Palanivel was dropped.

Although Zaid’s capital among Chinese and Indian voters, who together make up about 45 per cent of the voters, remains intact but among the majority Malays who make up about 55 per cent, his standing has eroded largely because of the “non-Islamic” character issue.

According to Tay Tian Yan, Sin Chew deputy editor in chief, in a recent commentary titled “Counter-Marketing Politics”, “many non-Muslims do not seem to understand it and ask if drinking is really that serious at all? And can this thing decide everything?”

He said Muslims can also ask: Isn’t drinking serious enough? Couldn’t it decide everything? He went on to say that “this is Malaysia, a country where different ethnic communities and religions have completely different views on the same issue.”

In trying to help Zaid, Nik Aziz will be battling strong prejudice against liberals like Zaid. But PAS insiders say the presence and support from Nik Aziz could convince the PAS hardcore to stay with Zaid but might not move the fence-sitters who, they say, are already convinced that Zaid is not their man.

The Malay villagers here are hardworking peasants… they slog for a living. They are not just against alcohol. Their friends, Chinese, Indians and Orang Asli, all drink,” said a PAS member when met in Kalumpang.

“They are put off by the image of a man of ease with unlimited wealth and expensive habits,” the member said. That’s the image Nik Aziz has to clean up and even he may not be able to do it in one or two ceramahs on the last leg of the Hulu Selangor campaign.

21 thoughts on “Help from Tok Guru Nik Aziz for Zaid Ibrahim

  1. In politics, 48 hours plus may be enough to swing things around. But it is sad that a dream politician and political heavyweight like Zaid Ibrahim can suddenly as the race draws to a close become the underdog against a less known Kamal bin Nathan.

    It cannot be just his drinking habits and elitism.There is more to it than meets the eye. It could be due to internal bickering among PKR and PR campaign operatives on the ground over electoral strategy and campaign tactics. Perhaps, the neglect of Hulu Selangor by the state government is a factor working against Zaid.

    From what I can gather this morning from the field and local contacts in Hulu Selangor, the hardcore Malay voters especially in the Felda scheme (Kampong Soeharto) and the neglected fringes of Hulu Selangor have already made up their minds to vote Kamal bin Nathan of Barisan Nasional. Zaid has now to depend on young voters, but he is hampered by poor organization on the ground. So little last ditch help from the venerable Tok Guru Nik Aziz may be what Zaid needs, although Baradan thinks it too little too late to have an impact on the outcome when polling commences on April 25, 2010.

    Najib is expected to be in Hulu Selangor and because the prospects of victory are good for BN, Mahathir will also turun padang to lend his support to Kamal bin Nathan. It would appear that UMNO-led BN wants to win Hulu Selangor and turn the tide against PKR and PR as they did in Bagan Pinang.

    All that said, it is still in my estimation it is still close to call. Frank, any views on April 25, 2010 outcome?—Din Merican

  2. Thank you Baradan for such an appended version.
    I know i’m a bit dense, but could you please explain to me just as concisely, the last 2 paragraphs?

  3. hulu selangor’s core voters are elders and elderlies. depending when the monies start making their rounds, i have to put back a feather to mr. bean’s hat. i hope i don’t have to de-register as a voter though.

  4. “Zaid has now to depend on young voters ….” Din Merican

    The other way is for PKR to make the old voters feel young so they would vote for Zaid. How do we do that??

  5. Din

    At this point (Friday), I tend to agree with you, it is too close to call or rather, I would put it as too early to call.

    The crucial vote will be the Malay votes. If Kamal bin Nathan can gather only 50% of the Malay votes, Zaid will cross the line first.

    This is the heavy one for the rural Malays to ponder – candidate vs party. Kamalanathan is a newbie and his only advantage so far is that he is UMNO’s choice. A hardcore UMNO will vote for Kamalanathan.

    There is also the view that among hardcore UMNO supporters, they might submit spoilt votes or refrain going to the polls so that Kamalanathan will lose by default since there UMNO grassroots want this seat to go back to UMNO in the GE (which is the main goal). If I am a hard core UMNO supporter, I would prefer to sacrifice Kamalanathan for the bigger goal of taking the seat for UMNO.

    The fight for votes for Zaid will be among the the non-UMNO Malay supporter whose allegiance to UMNO is only so-so. Their allegiance will be based on ethnicity. Zaid is a known quantity.

    Does his drinking will affect their votes? I believe many younger and older Malay folks would not factor this as a major issue since it occurs to a young man of the old days when most young educated Malays do drink. PAS supporters in Hulu Selangor are not that extreme to a point of being unrealistic in weighing this issue.

    The point they will ask is: Is Zaid drinking now? This is where Zaid has to answer in no uncertain terms and Zaid wife’s meeting the old Malay folks will have a strong influence.

    It is best that Zaid’s wive does the explaining on the drinking issue than Zaid himself to the old folks.

    To the Chinese and Indians, Zaid’s drinking is a no-brainer.

    The worry for Zaid is the Indian votes. Indian voters are susceptible to voting-bribes, too short term in their thinking. The young Indian voters from the cities will have an influence. Zaid will need his young educated Indian supporters to go meet the old Indian folks to win Zaid over. Remind them of the cowhead demonstration, demolishing of hindu temples, church bombing, and that Kamalanathan is Samu Vellu’s nephew, bypassing someone they had voted before ie Palanivel.

    My call: It is the Chinese votes which will bring Zaid over the line. Malay and Indian votes will split through the middle.

    But it is still early to call. Zaid may win more than 50% of Malay votes. But it will be hard for Zaid to win more than 50% of Indian votes at this stage.

    I think if I buy empat ekor, I will have a better chance of win than to try to predict the result by getting into the space between Malaysian voters who rarely use their brains to vote. They vote using the space between their bums instead of between their ears.

    Malays vote for Bangsa dan agaman NOT untuk negara.

    Indians vote for sewing machines and free murukkus

    Chinese vote like beggars to get the crumbs thrown on the floor from UMNO.

    The clever by half Malaysian voters know they were misled by UMNO since 1957, yet they let UMNO run riot on the wealth and resources of the country siphoning to enrich their own families, UMNO cronies and chinese lapdogs.

    It is hard to tell to tell a truly stupid chap that he is stupid.

  6. correction

    I think if I buy empat ekor, I will have a better chance of WINNING than to try to predict the result by getting into the space between THE EARS of Malaysian voters who rarely use their brains to vote. They vote using the space between their bums instead of between their ears.

    Malays vote for Bangsa dan AGAMA NOT untuk negara.

  7. The other way is for PKR to make the old voters feel young so they would vote for Zaid. How do we do that?? Bean

    Send the SYT to flirt with the old geezers and stroke their ego, like wah very strong man, you look wonderful for your age, you must be (—) years younger. As for the old lady voters, send them the toy boy and treat them like the Mak Datins. Frank has volunteered to be a toy boy for Fatimah.

  8. Din,

    UMNO’s campaign strategy to the Indians, will be that if Kamalanathan loses, UMNO will take back the seat from MIC. That may frighten the shit out of the Indian voters.

    But such tactic is double-edge. The UMNO members/supporters would use the same campaign message to ask those who want UMNO to take back the seat NOT to go out and vote or cause spoilt votes.

    It is for that reason, UMNO’s campaign is to go after personal attacks on Zaid rather than on party-related issues.

    For the young Malay voters, the choice between Zaid and Kamalanathan is a no brainer.

    You have a successful self-made Malay, educated, had been in politics before, a successful lawyer who comes across a man who will stand by his principles to even resign from his cabinet position.

    On the other side of the fence, an unknown quantity except for the fact that Kamalanathan was chosen to spite MIC leaders and to cause more damage to Samy Vellu by agreeing to put his nephew as a candidate (to generate more anger among anti-Samy Vellu forces in MIC).

    Something tells me, the campaign by UMNO for Kamalanathan is a sandiwara. The price is not to win this byelection but to win the Hulu Selangor seat for UMNO for the GENERAL ELECTION.

    UMNO knows MIC is a lost cause like MCA. The way to win Malay votes is to bring back the Hulu Selangor seat back to UMNO.

    UMNO’s game of ethnicity is still at play and that is Zaid’s advantage in this by election.

  9. Tok Guru is one of the most respected leaders amongst the people especially the Muslims .
    I am sure he will be able to get non hard core Umno supporters to vote for Zaid Ibrahim.
    Hulu Selangor folks , vote for Zaid Ibrahim; a principled man of great honor and integrity

  10. There are only a handful of regular bloggers whose inputs I appreciate and look forward to read and Frank is one of them. True to his moniker he is frank. He is perceptive and is fully aware of all the political happenings and their ramifications on the Malaysian society. That is not to say I don’t disagree with some of his observations.

    He says UMNO/BN is putting a superficial fight – a sandiwara – in HS. No I don’t think so. They are DEAD serious in wanting to win it. Otherwise how do you explain they going all out to character assassinate and project Zaid as a totally unworthy candidate? What about all the big guns converging at the battle field and dragging the initially reluctant Mahathir to join in as well, to mock Zaid and PR and work up the Malay ground against them?

  11. Dont you see the malays are at it again. the “sin” of drinking is a personal sin that Zaid has to answer himself to God later. What off the sin of corruption that affect millions of malaysians,greed,dishonesty,?what of those sins that really affect peoples lives. Zaid he drank, he bought his own drink he did not ask anyone for the money, all his “sins” are not for us to judge but for God alone but for the other transgressions fo the past leaders against the people ?what about those sins?when will the malays learn?when will they stop looking at issues on teh surface and dig deeper and see what the big picture is really about?

  12. The only way for Zaid Ibrahim to bag the votes is to convince the HS voters of his sincerity and seriousness to improve their well being, that there is STILL a lot to be done and he, a PKR candidate,is the RIGHT person to get things done since Selangor is under the PR, not BN.

  13. He says UMNO/BN is putting a superficial fight – a sandiwara – in HS. No I don’t think so. – K. Das.

    You may be right. The character assassination is because UMNO is still licking its wounds by Zaid left the UMNO-led govt as a Minister (its slap on UMNO’s face), and to add salt to the wound, Zaid joined UMNO’s biggest nemesis, Anwar.

    I think there are many in UMNO, the more decent ones, disagree with some of the terrible remarks UMNO leaders they make against Zaid.

    Some UMNO grassroot members find it hard to swallow when the listen to UMNO leaders throwing personal insults to a successful and self-made Malay (you don’t associate corruption and bribery on Zaid) while defending an MIC Indian whom they barely know or have any emotional sentiments attached to.

    Many Malays are caught between two hard rocks: supporting a MIC Indian vs supporting one of their kind, who is principled in more ways than one, and his only fault is he is not with UMNO.

    I doubt very much Najib or Muhyiddin would shed any tear if Kamalanathan. In fact there will be a significant section of UMNO hare cores who will celebrate Kamalanathan’s loss.

    Of course, Najib etc will have to make a show, a REAL SHOW, of supporting an MIC Indian, who lost the parliamentary seat just the last election, and yet BN took the state seats. With the split in the Malay votes expected in the coming GE13, UMNO would want to have as many seats under its belt to take on PR. UMNO would prefer to trust its Malay candidate to win the Malay vote instead of depending on an MIC candidate trying to win the unreliable Indian votes in Hulu Selangor.

    MIC is now neither dead or alive and its performance for the coming GE would not be better than March 2008 and it requires a miracle to overcome its negative image.

    MIC is generally viewed as a perennial asslicker of UMNO, and now you have its candidate as a good symbol of MIC’s image of an ass-licker by his kissing the hand of the Deputy President of UMNO and hugging anti-non Malay Ibrahim Ali of Perkasa.

    If I am an MIC Indian, I would view Kamalanathan’s attitude and behaviour when facing UMNO leaders as a classic representative of an asslicker of UMNO , an image many Indians who have a sentimental attachment to MIC would want to to dispel.

    Many of the educated and well-read Indians voting in Hulu Selangor will have a lot to think about when they enter the polling booths.






    Indian voters in Hulu Selangor will have to enlightened on these issues and whether a vote for Kamalanathan which is a vote for UMNO will make the change for the betterment of the poorer Indians in the country.

    Will Kamalanathan be any better than Zaid in Parliament? I don’t think so. But that is for the Indian voters in Hulu Selangor to decide, not us on this blog.Unless they are more concerned about sewing machines, RM50 in envelopes and free murukkus from UMNO.

  14. oops!!

    I doubt very much Najib or Muhyiddin would shed any tear if Kamalanathan LOST. In fact there will be a significant section of UMNO hard core who will celebrate Kamalanathan’s loss.

  15. I became suspicious of Najib/UMNO’s motive when it was known even by Merdeka polls and by word from the ground that if BN had selected Mat Taib, BN will win hands down. The Chinese will vote for him, the Indians wil vote for him and the UMNO-hard will not have any heart-wrenching decision to make between two Malays.

    Instead, Najib decided to bypass an opportunity win this by-election. Compare this with his decision to put up a corrupt Isa Samad in N Sembilan against advice of UMNO leaders, based on the view that Isa Samad WILL win hands down. And he did.

    Why did Najib bypass Mat Taib and gave face to MIC. We should note that it was MIC which lost the parliamentary seat in March 2008 to PKR while retaining the state seats in that parliamentary constituency for BN?

    Is it pressure from Samy Vellu. I don’t think so. There is more than meets the eye. Najib is no fool.

    For MIC, a win or loss by Kamalanathan is a lose-lose situation for MIC.

    If Kamalanathan wins. Najib will say he makes better decision than MIC in terms of choice of MIC candidates and that will ensure any MIC MP/ADUN will always be subservient to UMNO (not to the extent of kissing the hand of the Deputy Presient of UMNO as done by Kamalanathan) and that will set the precedent for other seats traditionally held by MIC for the coming GE.

    If Kamalanathan loses, Najib will say MIC is unable to hold on its seat even in an by-election despite heavy support from UMNO. Najib will rack up the noise from its grassroots for Hulu Selangor to be held by UMNO and give MIC some other seats somewhere else where UMNO knows it can’t win.

    It just shows that MIC leadership are more self-interested of their own political career, not that of the Indian constituency, and the the most obvious is that Samy Vellu cleverly positioned himself for HIS NEPHEW to be selected as a candidate. The SAMY VELU DYNASTY is ensured if Kamalanathan wins…

    Samy Velu wants to start a Gandhi-like dynastic in Malaysia with his genes flowing for a long time in MIC.

    The Chinese, even in MCA, have a cultural dislike for dynasties. They had enough from their experience with the Chinese emperors for more than 2,000 years. Ong Ka Ting tried it with his brother Ong Ka Chuan, both had their asses kicked by the MCA chinese. That much you can give the chinese in MCA some credit.

    MIC Indians??? Nah… they took their cue from India’s love for dynasties. It even happens in Bollywood.

  16. The only way for Zaid Ibrahim to bag the votes is to convince the HS voters of his sincerity and seriousness – ocho onda

    Good idea… but not good enough to be convincing to win votes. Voters are more cynical than you think.

  17. Nah ! Najib is playing to win by spreading his bets.

    Either way, he hopes to win – if his non Malay choice wins, he scores a huge political point to underscore the genuineness and inclusiveness of his 1-Malaysia. And if his candidate lose, it will spell the end of MIC’s Semi Value but more importantly BN will still have another shot at the next GE.

    So in a sense, it is sandiwara, like his stance on 1-Malaysia – on one hand, UMNO preaches about inclusiveness when it is obvious
    to all that Perkasa is a proxy , CIA-like arm, of UMNO.

  18. oops ! Please read – And if his candidate lose, it will spell the end of MIC’s Semi Value but more importantly UMNO will then have its shot at the next GE.

  19. Voters are more cynical than you think.

    Frank – April 23, 2010 at 6:05 pm

    Remember that in politics even cynics can be bought. The trick is to know what is their price and what is the currency.
    What can be more satisfying than to beat one’s opponents using their own rules – sewing machines can be a good form of investment to aid the campaign machinery ! 🙂

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