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Sunday, April 25, 2004


Kelantan PAS Dilemma

The 11th election saw Kelantan being the only State to be won by the alternative party PAS. This win was by a razor thin margin of 24 to 21 seats. Soon after polling day and the recounting of votes which gave PAS 24 seats, rumours were out regarding attempts to buy over PAS ADUNs. The present PAS government of Kelantan is indeed in a very precarious position as it only takes the loss of two seats for whatever reason for it to find itself losing the State.
The PM has been reported as saying that BN will not buy over any of the Kelantan PAS ADUNs. Now that the poll results have been gazetted, election petitions can be filed by those who are not satisfied with the poll results. The Kelantan state’s deputy commissioner III Husam Musa said PAS will file election petitions for two parliamentary (Jeli and Bachok) and the nine state seats of Bukit Tuku, Mengkebang, Manek Urai, Selising, Pengkalan Kubor, Tendong, Melor, Gual Periok and Air Lanas. Kelantan BN is also said to be considering filing election petitions, but as to which seats they will file petitions are not known. But till today none have been filed by either BN or PAS. It appears that something is going on behind the scene. Are attempts being made to destabilise the PAS government? Kelantan PAS must be worried for if it were to have the election courts overturning the results of just two of the seats it presently holds it would be in big trouble.
PAS Legal Adviser Takiyuddin Hassan is reported by Bernama to have said that Kelantan PAS will not go ahead with its proposal to file election petitions if Umno/BN also calls off its preparations for such petitions. He is also quoted as having said it would be better for both PAS and UMNO to pool their energies to develop Kelantan rather than being preoccupied with preparing election petitions. Is this an attempt by PAS to maintain the status quo? The same report also mentioned Husam Musa as having said that the dissolution of the Kelantan state assembly for fresh polls would be the last resort if other methods were not fruitful. Will PAS really dissolve the State Assembly before any election petitions end up in court? Is it afraid that it may lose two or more seats as a result of these petitions and that in such a situation, it may lose the right to dissolve the State Assembly?
In reply to PAS, Umno Youth has challenged PAS to dissolve Kelantan Assembly as soon as possible. UMNO Youth chief, Datuk Hishammuddin said this when asked to comment on the statement by Kelantan PAS Information Chief Nik Amar Nik Abdullah that the Kelantan state government would not hesitate to dissolve the assembly "if the Kelantan BN continues with efforts to destabilise the state administration." The Information MINIster Datuk Paduka Abdul Kadir Sheikh Fadzir has joined in the fray and said that the PAS threat of dissolution may backfire. He said the BN and Umno were prepared for a state election in Kelantan anytime :: "Going by the results of the recent general election, it is obvious that Kelantanese want a change and opted to support BN. God Willing...we will win."
With its present strength, BN/UMNO is obviously in a position to find faults with the PAS government. Kelantan UMNO has initiated a SMS hotline called talian khadam in almost all the 21 Umno-controlled constituencies to enable the people to complain about the lack of infrastructure and poor government services.
Kelantan Umno chief Datuk Mustapa Mohamad has also said that BN was not afraid of the threat by PAS to dissolve the state assembly, adding that “the ball is in PAS’ court.” “Umno has never pressured the government. It is merely pointing out PAS’ weaknesses. If PAS wants to dissolve the state assembly, we are prepared," Datuk Mustapa said.
Has PAS worked itself into a corner? How is it going to deal with this dilemma? Will there be another election for the Kelantan State Assembly soon?


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