by Sharon Tan
BUKIT GANTANG: PAS election director Datuk Mustafa Ali admitted PAS is trailing Barisan Nasional (BN) in terms of Malay votes but is fast catching up.
“We will close the gap by polling day. The difference is very little and we are catching up,” he said, adding that PAS is ahead with the non-Malays votes.
He attributed the lower percentage of Malay votes to remuneration and pressure from BN.
Mustafa refused to disclose the actual number of percentages of Malay votes but party sources said PAS went into the campaign securing only 43% Malay votes.
He also refused to divulge the party’s strategies to woo Malay voters.
On whether the land and Sultan issues have contributed to them trailing BN in Malay votes, Mustafa said those issues have no bearings.
“The Malays hear that Nizar (Datuk Seri Mohammad Nizar Jamaluddin) were victimised by BN. That could maintain our influence here,” he said.
Mustafa also dismissed allegations that PAS was behind a series of letters and leaflets that BN alleged was the doing of the Opposition.
“My response is that PAS is not involved. I understand that Umno Bukit Gantang is split. They are split because there are some who does not agree with Ismail Saffian as candidate. Maybe it is a way they self sabotage,” he said.
He also took a swipe at new Prime Minister Datuk Seri Najib Razak who said he (Najib) does not agree with banning newspapers but acted otherwise.
He also said that the government should ask the French ambassador to explain the report on Najib’s link to Altantuya in its newspaper Liberation.
“Najib should clear himself first because it is about the country. It involves how the world looks at our new prime minister,” said Mustafa.
Commenting on Tun Dr Mahathir Mohammad’s upcoming trip to Bukit Gantang, Mustafa said cynically: “Maybe he wants to be the Mursyidul Am (spiritual adviser) for Umno. He has contributed a lot to the country during his tenure but he also did a lot of damage.”
He said the lopsided toll concession and independent power producer (IPP) agreements are Mahathir’s legacy.
Asked if Mahathir’s visit would have any impact, Mustafa said not for PAS but maybe for Umno.
“It is of no difference for us,” he said.
When asked to comment on Umno Deputy Perak Liaison Chief Datuk Seri Ahmad Zahid Hamidi’s dinner campaign in Kuala Sepetang that had singers in skimpy outfits, Mustafa said: “They only care about how they can gather people and not bothered about what people wear.
“You can ask the Chinese and they will tell you that they don’t like that type of dressing. Generally all races also don’t like dressing like that. Only very few like that.”