|Lawyer Ansari is Pakatan's man|
UPDATED Pakatan Rakyat’s flag bearer for the Batu Sapi by-election Ansari Abdullah is safe and sound after having fallen into the sea when a jetty in poverty-stricken Pulau Timbang collapsed during his visit this morning.
The tall and strapping Tuaran PKR division chief was the only one amongst the three candidates contesting the parliamentary constituency to put the small village on his campaign itinerary.
“Let the BN and SAPP hog the limelight and all the cushy places, but I think win or lose, the Pakatan objective is to show the people, no matter what the odds, we will fight for the people to the maximum of our resources,” Sabah PKR communications director Ronnie Klassen told Malaysia Chronicle.
BN has fielded Linda Tsen, the widow of the late PBS assemblyman Edmund Chong who was killed in a bike crash earlier this month. Chong was the incumbent MP for Batu Sapi.
Another candidate is the former Sabah chief minister Yong Teck Lee, who withdrew his SAPP party from the BN in 2008. However, he has confirmed that SAPP will not be joining the Pakatan, sparking widespread speculation that he may return to the BN after the contest - win or lose.
Meanwhile, PKR president Wan Azizah has warned the Batu Sapi people not to be confused by Yong’s participation and urged them to vote for the ‘real opposition’. According to her, Yong’s role was to play ‘spoiler’ for the BN in the heated three-way campaign.
"In any election, it's always not easy for us to compete against the might of BN but we won in Sibu (Sarawak)," she told reporters at Batu Sapi.
Over in Galas, optimism grows
Meanwhile, simultaneously, in Galas in Kelantan, a by-election is also taking place between Pakatan Rakyat's Dr Dzulkefli Ahmad and Umno's Abdul Aziz - both of whom are 'local' men.
A medical doctor, PAS' Dzulkefli has begun campaigning and is busy making the rounds in his hometown but this time as a politician and not a doctor.
One of his stops included a Chinese temple.
"I think reporters can see for themselves he is a very warm and friendly person without any airs. He is a medical type, very concerned and caring about people's health. But he has to get used to talking in political language, which is not that easy you know. But it won't be difficult for him to adjust," his campaign aide toldMalaysia Chronicle.
The Galas state seat fell vacant following the death of PAS assemblyman Chek Hashim Sulaima, who wrested the seat with the a slim 646-vote margin in 2008.
PAS is still seen as the underdog in Galas although confidence has returned to the Pakatan camp following several encouraging meet-the-people sessions.
Among Pakatan bigwigs lending PAS a hand in the Malay heartland are DAP adviser Lim Kit Siang, Tony Pua, PKR adviser Anwar Ibrahim and vice president Azmin Ali.