PAS retained its Manek Urai seat by a majority of only 65 votes. Oh well, a victory is still a victory. However, for BN to reduce the majority significantly from 1,300 last time is really something.
PAS historically doesn't really perform well in Kelantan by-elections. Look back at Pengkalan Pasir (2005). It was won by PAS in the 2004 General Election by a narrow majority and BN wrest it back with a comfortable majority of 1,800. Yes, it brought PAS into a very critical state in the Assembly at the time. A razor thin 23-22 seats.
Annuar Musa challenged Tok Guru Nik Aziz to dissolve the Assembly, but Tok Guru says there's no need for it. And so, PAS held on to Kelantan by that razor 1 seat majority in the assembly until the parliament dissolves in February 2008, by our then PM, Tun Abdullah Badawi.
And so, BN hopes were high in wrestling back Kelantan after 17 years of rule. "Blue wave in Kelantan" as the mainstream media reported. Awang Adek dreams of being the new Menteri Besar of Kelantan.
However, come election day, BN were almost wiped out in Kelantan. They only won 6 seats out of the 45 contested. Even the Pengkalan Pasir seat that they won back in 2005 fell back to PAS, who won by a 2,300 majority, a swing of 4,100 in majority.
Oh well, Awang Adek's dreams of becoming the new Kelantan MB came up short and guess what? He's now our Deputy Finance Minister. Even better than his dream of becoming the new Kelantan MB. :P
Back to Manek Urai. It's a Malay heartland. 99.3% are Malay constituents. So, the results has clearly shown that no party has the clear Malay support. It's truly split in half. Not to mention Kelantan politics is different compared to other states. They look at the candidate, first things first, not party. If the candidate is good, they'll vote for him, regardless of his party, even if he/she is a PAS or UMNO supporter. They will vote for the candidate.
Take a good example of its incumbent, Allahyarham Ismail Yaacob or more affectionally known as Paksu Wel. He had first contested the seat in 1986 and won. After that, he endeared himself to the Manek Urai people from that point on. He is a good person, very helpful in solving the problems constituents faced over the years. His leadership of that kind can be considered irreplaceable. Just look at the 2004 General Election, when he did not contest, BN manage to win by a slim majority of 53 votes. Yes, Manek Urai people wanted him as their 'wakil rakyat' as he had been with them for 18 years, and they have shown their dissatisfaction to PAS for leaving him out of the fold by voting for a BN victory.
PAS has learned their lesson from that point on and come the next General Election, held on March 8 last year, Paksu Wel is back contesting for PAS and the result? Winning by a majority of 1,352. That says it all about Paksu Wel. Truly a people's leader. Everyone in Manek Urai knows Paksu Wel very well after all these years. Then, Allah gave him a test. Gaot. It affected his health badly and when the time comes, he returned to his Creator back in May. May Allah bless his soul. Al-Fatihah.