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Manek Urai : PAS Wins By 65 Votes

PAS has retained the Manek Urai state seat by a wafer-thin margin of 65, or 0.61 per cent of votes cast, despite earlier predictions of a thumping win for the Islamist party.

PAS polled 5,348 against Umno’s 5,283.

Last year the party defeated Barisan Nasional (BN) by 1,352 votes.

The close win showed PAS had just managed to fend off an onslaught from the BN and Umno machinery bent on taking full advantage of schisms in the Islamist party and among its Pakatan Rakyat (PR) partners.

Commenting on the narrow margin, Datuk Husam Musa accused BN of vote buying during the by-election campaign.

“I am very proud of the Manek Urai voters who have shown their strength in resisting BN’s offers,” he told reporters at the counting centre.

He claimed that money was distributed to the voters on the eve of polling day.

On PAS’s defeat in two polling districts – Manek Urai Baru and Lama – where BN has promised to build a new bridge to replace an old single lane bridge, Husam said: “Now BN has to build the bridge.”

He added that the result would not affect Datuk Nik Abdul Aziz Nik Mat’s leadership in the state.

PAS candidate Fauzi Abdullah said he would serve all his constituents equally.

Meanwhile Election Commission chief Tan Sri Aziz Yusof said there was no need for a recount despite the small margin.

“There was no recount, it can only be done if the margin is less than four per cent at the polling stream level, not the total,” Aziz told reporters.

He said BN was welcomed to challenge the results.

Tonight’s results will help strengthen Datuk Nik Abdul Aziz Nik Mat’s position in the Islamist party against rival factions who are keen on working more closely with Umno.

Umno had been hoping for a win today to give BN a boost by winning its first by-election in the peninsula since last year’s general elections.

Bolstered by a recent opinion poll showing an improved approval rating for Prime Minister Datuk Seri Najib Razak, Umno had wanted to make the Manek Urai vote a major turning point in its quest to regain lost ground from a Pakatan Rakyat (PR) wracked by major infighting.

Tonight’s win for PAS will give PR some breathing space as it attempts to consolidate after a month which saw the alliance partners openly squabbling with each other over various issues.

Source : The Malaysian Insider

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