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Monday, April 6, 2009

Neck and neck race in Bukit Gantang

TAIPING, April 6 — malaysianinsider - By Debra Chong

Hands up if you are voting for me tomorrow. Datuk Seri Nizar Jamaluddin and supporters show their enthusiasm and confidence in the winning the Bukit Gantang by-election.

While Datuk Seri Mohammad Nizar Jamaluddin, the toppled Perak CEO and Pakatan Rakyat (PR) contender in the Bukit Gantang race was unquestionably leading at the start, the Barisan Nasional (BN) challenger Ismail Saffian has closed the gap.

With the last yard in sight, both candidates are now neck and neck, especially as the playing field has been levelled by the infamous rains in this part of Perak.

The downpour earlier this afternoon may have messed up the schedules of both sides as they struggled on foot to reach out one last time to the grassroots voters — after all, who in their right minds would hang around in the wet outdoors — before campaigning terminates at midnight, according to the rules of the Election Commission.

The posters still go up. A campaign worker putting up BN posters at the Chinese temple in Kuala Sepetang.

The BN however holds an edge over PR with its almighty machinery as it simply has more human resource available. All BN members, from component party leaders and members of Parliament right down to the state executive councillors have been commanded to hit the ground to search, engage and persuade the electorate to vote Ismail.

While PR lacks the numbers to match BN, its fighting spirit remains strong as ever. While the ordinary members from all three parties have sent out their foot soldiers on motorcycles, bicycles and in trucks with flags equipped with flag in one hand and hailer in the other to every neighbourhood for the rural vote, it has also taken the path through cyberspace to reach the outstation voters via email.

It is now anybody’s guess who will make it across the finishing line first tomorrow night.

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