Kemaman by-election: Pas and the non-Malay vote bloc

Datuk Seri Ahmad Samsuri Mokhtar retained the Kemaman parliamentary seat in the by-election over the weekend.

One thing to note is while Ahmad Samsuri’s majority vote share was higher than his predecessor Che Alias Hamid.

Ahmad Samsuri who is also Terengganu Menteri Besar gained a 37,220-vote majority compared to Che Alias’ 27,179 votes

Pas elections deputy director Tan Sri Annuar Musa claimed that non-Malay votes in this by-election increased to 31 percent.

Better known as Dr Sam among his circle, he was touted as Pas’ prime minister candidate in the event PN comes into power.

He is also depicted as the man who would be able to win over the non-Malay vote bloc since his mannerism is not uncouth, unlike Pas election director, Datuk Seri Muhammad Sanusi Md Nor.

In my previous article, I explored the impact of this win on Pas ally, Bersatu. This piece looks at the impact on Pas since it is claiming the prime ministership and the non-Malay vote bloc.

By naming Ahmad Samsuri as the prime minister candidate, Pas is indirectly stating that he is Hadi’s anointed one to take charge of the party post Hadi.

He rose in politics due to Hadi. At one point of time, he was Hadi’s political secretary. There is no doubt whatsoever that Samsuri’s bond with Hadi would be solidified in the coming days.

Within Pas

Within Pas it is impossible for Samsuri to be the anointed heir to lead the party simply because of his background.

He doesn’t belong to the ulama faction of the party. He is a professional, just like Datuk Seri Takiyuddin Hassan (PN-Kota Bharu).

Pas would not allow a non ulama to helm the party. If they did, AMANAH would not have come into being.

Remember, during the pre-AMANAH time, it was the professionals led by then deputy president Mohamad Sabu who mounted a challenge.

It resulted in the expulsion of the entire faction that eventually formed AMANAH.

That is why Samsuri would not get to helm the party that had raised him to be the Terengganu Menteri Besar.

At best Samsuri would only be a second fiddle in Pas. That means the highest party position he can vie for is the deputy president post which is currently held by Datuk Tuan Ibrahim Tuan Man (PN-Kubang Kerian).

The non-Malay vote bloc

As for the non-Malay vote bloc, Hadi knows how vital the vote bloc is to enable the expansion of his party.

Hence, he spoke about it during the recently concluded party annual general meeting.

It is a reflection of  how effective the Pas supporters congress really is.

Samsuri is depicted as the poster boy to win over the hearts and minds of the non-Malays.

Their confidence is supported by the 20 percent Indian vote swing during the state polls four months ago.

Samsuri’s presence in the Dewan Rakyat however would not pave the way for a wave of support from the non-Malay vote bloc to join its “green wave”.

This is because Pas doesn’t raise issue concerns of the non-Malay, non-Muslim bloc, regardless whether the representative is from the ulama faction or the professional faction.

Even worse, the ulama faction can’t debate anything without bringing up their faith.

While the non-Malay vote appears to be steadfast for the PH-BN bloc, at least for now, it cannot be taken for granted.

Talks on the ground, especially for those unaffiliated to any party, is that there is political lethargy among the Indian community.

What this means is, come GE16, the Indian community would not cast their votes.

The PH-BN coalition has an advantage in courting the non-Malay vote bloc.

And so, due attention must be given to their needs as well. Because, every vote matters.