BUKIT GANTANG, April 7 – Barisan Nasional candidate Ismail Saffian believes he will win the Bukit Gantang parliamentary seat by a majority of 3,000 votes.
Ismail believes the presence of former premier Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamed who joined him on the campaign trail at the eleventh hour yesterday boosted his chances.
“As a negarawan who has contributed greatly to the country, his return will definitely draw those who support him,” Ismail noted, adding “He will give a very positive impact to this by-election.”
Speaking to reporters at the SK Dato’ Panglima Bukit Gantang here this morning, Ismail admitted it had been an intense fight against Datuk Seri Mohammad Nizar Jamaluddin, the challenger from Pas and his closest rival.
“It’s a tough fight because they have their supporters also,” the 49-year-old said after casting his ballot, shortly after 9am. However, he added he believes “the people will vote for BN and for me.”
Asked if his win signified an “endorsement” to the “regime” of newly-minted prime minister Datuk Seri Najib Razak, Ismail replied: “Ya, ya. I think so, I think so. If they vote for me, they vote for BN.”
Pressed further for his views if the converse happened, he said simply: “I leave that to the people to decide.”
Ismail was expected to arrive at the voting station here this morning at 8am. He turned up close to an hour later, dressed in a baseball cap and short-sleeved shirt the same dark blue of the national front. He was accompanied by his wife, Fauziah Noh.