Its 'war' and it is going to be 'hell' for PAS in defending the Sungai Limau state seat from Barisan Nasional (BN), a seat which the Islamic party has held for the past five terms, since 1995.
It is not that BN is getting stronger or BN is going to attack PAS stronghold like the Allied Forces landed in Normandy beach that ended the Second World War but it is worse than that – the party internal conflict.
The Sungai Limau by-election saw a straight fight between PAS candidate Mohd Azam Abd Samat and BN's DrSohaimi Lazim, the former a 37-year old private religious school administrator and the latter a 52-year old educational academician.
Putting age aside, both are locals and both are known to the most of the 27,222 voters in the constituency where the landscape is flat with padi fields and the environment is quiet and serene.
With the quietness and stillness now broken into a hive of activities, not havoc though, the constituency is like a 'war zone' where one can see houses and huts covered with banners and flags of both rivals of the political divide.
The voters are also split into two – where the late DatukSeri Azizan Abdul Razak of PAS and Mentri Besar – won only 2,774 votes majority, considered as nothing great comparing the voters totaling 27,222, where in 2008 general election PAS gained a majority of 3,212 votes.
In reality, the political war is about winning the hearts and minds of the voters, who were of Islamic mindset and changes through times where the reality of life sets in – daily bread and butter issues in accordance to the rising cost of living.
PAS influence have dwindled although the party has held the constituency for the last five terms given the majority the late Azizan gained was not high and BN's concept of religion and economy goes hand-in-hand.
But that is not exactly what PAS fear most in SungaiLimau, it is the internal conflict between three groups that may dampened or probably bring down the party on polling day fixed on Nov 4.
Vengeance and backstabbing because of power had led the former PAS state government to fall and this time around the same thing will drag PAS down.
The power struggle is between PAS state commissionerDatuk Mahfuz Omar, Datuk Phahrori and the late Azizan'sfollowers, the latter who wanted Aziza's son to be the candidate but was pushed aside.
Despite the appearances of the whole party leadership headed by president Datuk Abdul Hadi Awang this morning at the nomination centre, the undercurrent friction still exist and will continue to undermind the party campaign.
For BN, today's show of force is considered as miraculous as all the leaders present seemed sincere and honest, especially when the party had just concluded its poll whereMentri Besar Mukhriz Dr Mahathir finished just a breath away to unseat incumbent vice-president Datuk DeriHishammuddin Hussein.
Wanita chief Datuk Shahrizat Abdul Jalil were here the last two days planning the wooing of voters strategy, the job she is famed with as proven by the success in KualaBesut by-election in Terengganu.
As usual, Wanita Umno's job is the most tedious and most important as Shahrizat will head the 'kepala 10' team where each team leader is responsible for every 10 voters – daily monitoring of where the voters' inclinations go.
It maybe a uphill task for BN given the voters' profile and background but with the new Mentri Besar datuk MukhrizDr Mahathir's leadership as director of operation, the work may get simpler and easier.
Mukhriz's untarnished image and credibility may be a good start for BN in the next 12 days campaign trail.
Sungai Limau is the second by-election since the conclusion of the May 5 general election where the first by-election was held in Kuala Besut, Terengganu after BN's Dr A Rahman Mokhtar died on June 26.
BN succeeded in retaining the seat in a hot battle.
Sent from my iPhone