February 28, 2011JASIN, Feb 28 — Malacca Chief Minister Datuk Seri Mohd Ali Mohd Rustam yesterday said Barisan Nasional (BN) was confident of regaining the support of the Chinese community in the Merlimau by-election. Mohd Ali told The Malaysian Insider BN has targeted an increase over the 40 per cent of Chinese support it received during the 2008 general election.
“I am confident that we [can] get additional votes from the Chinese electorate in the Merlimau state seat as I have seen positive and good response from the community.
“I think we can get more than 50 per cent of Chinese support, and if you look at the situation now where everybody is okay and happy,” he said after visiting a Chinese community in Kampung Chin Chin.
The Merlimau by-election was called following the death of Datuk Mohamad Hidhir Abu Hassan on January 20.
The seat’s electoral roll has 10, 679 votes, with 6,935 Malay voters, 2,218 Chinese voters and 1,510 Indians voters.
Pengkalan Samak and Merlimau Pasir will be highly contested as both districts constitute more than 1,000 Chinese votes.
Pengkalan Samak is also the biggest district and holds the town centre.
PAS election director Datuk Abdul Halim Abdul Rahman claimed on Saturday that the party has already captured 41 per cent of the Malay electorate in Merlimau.
The Pengkalan Chepa MP added the party needed another four per cent of Malay votes to ensure victory in the state seat.
Abdul Halim also said PAS was targeting 75 per cent of the Chinese votes and 40 per cent of Indian votes.
Yesterday, Mohd Ali dismissed the claims and accused PAS of making unfounded claims.
“PAS can say whatever it wants to say. It is an arrogant party and likes to spread allegations,” he said.
He added that PAS will not be able to fool the people of Malacca.
“The Malacca public knows that PAS likes to make slanderous accusations. I do not think that the people of Merlimau will give them much support. Maybe some will vote for PAS but not a lot,” he said.
Mohd Ali said PAS should not expect any free votes and questioned the party’s contributions to the state so far.
The chief minister also said that BN will win by a bigger majority, but did not reveal the target figure.
In 2008, the late Mohamad Hidhir retained the Merlimau state seat after he defeated PAS’s Jasme Tompang by a majority of 2,154 votes. In Election 2004, he won the seat by 5,087 votes.
Merlimau is located within the Jasin parliamentary constituency, a stronghold of BN, which won all the five state seats in Election 2008.
The by-election will see a straight fight between PAS’s Yuhaizat Abdullah and Umno’s Roslan Ahmad.
BN currently controls 23 seats in the Melaka assembly while DAP is the only opposition with five.