: It’s not just a battle between two figures from different generations for the P096, Kuala Selangor parliament seat between Barisan Nasional (BN) and PAS.
On the ‘surface’ it seems like a straight fight between Dr. Dzulkefly Ahmad from PAS, who is challenged by Datuk Irmohizam Ibrahim from BN.
However the wave of the battle in P096 Kuala Selangor is more than that. It will become the ‘referendum’ testing ground for PAS to convince the rural Malays about the strength to replace UMNO, who is synonymous with the protector ‘brand’ as well as the interest of the majority race there.
PAS is still struggling with the perception of the party, which is seen to have sacrificed its principal for the sake of political alliance with DAP and PKR.
In the case of the Hudud issue, Dr. Dzulkefly has stressed that PAS is consistent in implementing the Islamic law even though it was not included in the Pakatan Rakyat manifesto.
“PAS leadership is consistent until the end of the line. Even though it is not in the PR policy, it is still a decree by Allah and one day when the minds of Muslims as well as non-Muslims are more open, it will be implemented. It wouldn’t be forced upon people but done through democracy or ballot box,” he said when met in Jaya Setia.
Apart from explaining PAS Islamic agenda in the context of ideology clash with DAP, the heavyweight candidate in his speech, relates PR’s core manifesto to the traditional people in the village.
“If all of you understand PR manifesto as merely as the reduction of car prices, free education, abolishment of tolls, then you are mistaken. PR manifesto is about building a new Malaysia,” said Dr Dzul. BN focuses on the micro needs
Meanwhile, the Barisan Nasional contender, Datuk Irmohizam Ibrahim strength lies as the local guy, who is offering changes to the Kuala Selangor seat.
His forte lies as the young aggressive man, who translates modest political practice as well as conveying ideas to move the socio-economics of the people.
The Youth Council figure understands the need to push the agricultural industry and wants to generate work opportunities by making Kuala Selangor as the new industrial hub.
“The industrial hub will rebrand P096 to more than just an agricultural place. It can become the engine to generate economic development that can be felt by the people outside of Kuala Selangor,” said Irmohizam to a group of Amanah Ikhtiar Malaysia businesswomen.
Irmohizam added Kuala Selangor has an edge in the tourism sector given its potential.
“A world class tourism centre exist right here in Kuala Selangor. With strategic promotions, added value, backed by a sustainable eco-tourism, can help to maintain the existing beauty,” he said.
Apart from that, Irmohizam is making full use of Selangor government under PR’s failure in building affordable homes to garner support from the locals.
Irmohizam admits his biggest challenge in arranging a political strategy in this rural area is to strike a balance between new politics with conventional politics.
“I have always stressed a political debate based on merit like the presidential debate in America but now as the candidate here, I realized that voters want a personal touch like meeting and talking with us," said Irmohizam.
While the Malay and Indian voters are seen to be swaying toward BN, the Chinese are still critical and it will be hard to measure their interest in voting.
This has forced BN to popularize the ‘commander’ image of Datuk Seri Najib Tun Razak. They are hoping to gain the support of the Tionghua community by using the positive views of the people about Najib’s ability in handling the national economy.
“Najib is regarded as ‘OK’. He is serious and knows the meaning of change but the others should follow suit,” said a staunch PAS supporter known as Jailani.
This strategy is not only seen in Kuala Selangor but almost at all parliaments and state seats in Selangor.
From the 62,298 registered voters in Kuala Selangor, 64.39 percent are Malay voters, followed by 22 percent Indian and 13.28 percent.
P096 has three state seats- Bukit Melawati, Ijok and Jeram. In 2008, Dr. Dzulkefly won with a majority of 862 voters defeating BN Jahaya Ibrahim.