KUALA LUMPUR: PAS has practically given up on winning the Merlimau by-election even before nomination day. Instead, it is using the poll to test its machinery before the coming general election.
PAS vice-president Datuk Mahfuz Omar said the party was being realistic about its chances but this did not mean that the Barisan Nasional was in for an easy time.
Mahfuz, who is also Pokok Sena MP, said the party aimed to reduce the Barisan majority.
“We will use this by-election to test our election machinery. It is an opportunity for us to prepare our people for the next general election,” he said.
He said the PAS campaign in the by-election would focus on Barisan’s integrity and accountability, as there was a dearth of local issues in Merlimau.
“We will use this by-election to highlight national and international issues,” he said.
The PAS candidate will be announced on Feb 24 while Barisan will name its choice a day earlier.
Nomination for the by-election is on Feb 26 while polling is set for March 6.
In the 2008 general election, the late Datuk Mohd Hidhir Abu Hassan retained the seat with 2,154-vote majority, defeating PAS candidate Jasme Tompang.
On the Sarawak election, Mahfuz said PAS was eyeing more seats despite its small presence in the state.
“Hopefully we are allowed to contest more than three, or at least we should maintain the status quo,” he said.
In the 2006 election, PAS contested the Beting Maro seat and lost to Barisan by 895 votes.
It did not field any candidate in Sarawak during the 2008 general election
By ZUHRIN AZAM AHMAD