THE balance is so fine that any little nudge
could swing the vote in this critical by-election.The Malays form nearly 90 per cent of Kuala Terengganu. Their vote is expected to be split evenly between the ruling Barisan Nasional (BN) coalition and opposition contender PAS.
The Chinese vote is what everyone reckons would tip the balance in the 17 Jan by-election.
Until now that is. Enter businessman Azharudin Mamat alias Adam.
He surprised everyone by putting himself forward as an independent candidate.
In the March general election, the Kuala Terengganu seat also saw a three-cornered fight involving BN, PAS and an independent candidate. PAS later claimed that it lost the seat as a result of the independent candidate splitting the votes.
Mr Azharudin, who deals in traditional medicine, said it was his right to contest in the polls, a first for him, reported liberal news website Malaysiakini.
'I am not here to split the votes. I want to win the contest,' he said.
The 46-year-old father of nine children has paid the RM10,000 ($4,200) deposit which he will lose if does not get at least 12.5 per cent of the votes.
He has also only allocated himself RM15,000 for campaigning purposes.
Mr Azharudin said he is running for office because he wants to help the poor in Kuala Terengganu.
'I want to help the poor. I've seen too many leaders making all kinds of promises but doing nothing when they won,' Bernama quoted him as saying.
He also told Malaysiakini that he intends to 'use the MP's allowance to help these people regardless of race or party'.
His task will not be easy as he will be up against representatives from two giants - BN and PAS - who could afford to spend more than him.
He also said that he was not financed by any parties to contest in the by-election.
'I am self-funded and I am doing this on my own,' he said.
He will be pitted against BN's Datuk Wan Ahmad Farid Wan Salleh of Barisan Nasional and PAS' Mohd Abdul Wahid Endut in the by-election. And he will have to endure a gruelling 11-day campaign period from today until the by-election.
His tactic: He will be using CDs.
Mr Azharudin said they would play a major role in his campaigns, adding that he would also use a lorry to travel about for his 'mobile' campaigns.
He added that he has no on-line presence - no blogs or websites - and will be relying on direct communications with his voters.
'I will be distributing 5,000 pamphlets from house to house and installing banners in strategic places,' he told Bernama.
Meanwhile, roses came to the rescue of PAS candidate Mohd Abdul Wahid Endut when meeting voters in Kampung Cina recently.
Admittedly nervous about introducing himself to the women there, Mr Wahid was wondering what to do as he did not want to shake hands with women.
He did the next best thing. He said it with roses, reported the New Straits Times.
'At first I was not so sure about greeting the women in Kampung Cina, but luckily someone handed me a bouquet of roses.
'So every time the women held out their hand, I handed them the flowers.
'It really helped me. I am considering using flowers again, but maybe not roses. They are expensive. Next time around, it might be oranges,' he said. [FULL HERE: Meet Azharudin Mamat aka Adam. But is he also Mr Spoiler? Electric New Paper]