The telling clue is in a small byline, MStar datelined 10th August 2009, reportedly mentioned that EC had discussed Permatang Pasir's by-election date on 5th August 2009 in Kuching, Sarawak. So what has that got to do with rare, medium or well done?
- By virtue that EC normally set by-election date after their meeting, this scribe suspected that EC determine the nomination date and polling day as 12th and 19th August respectively, thus avoiding the hassle of having polling day in the holy month of Ramadan. That's rare because it will not give any advantage to the ruling BN to set up their strategy.
- As EC has already informed that they will be making their announcement on 10th August and true to form EC decided that the nomination and polling day shall be held on 17th and 25th August 2009. To me, that can be regarded as medium cooked dish. BN has an advantage of 5 days advanced info (I am not accusing here) and has already capitalising on Kg Buah Pala and beer ban sales in Muslims (Malays) majority areas in Selangor.
- Given that the seat fell vacant on 1st August and EC has 60 days to call for by-election, the last date for by-election shall be on 30th September which is barely a week after Eid. This can be considered as a "well done" dish as everybody can expect it to happen since the law has stated the requirements.
Where do we go from here? Najib is desperate for a win. And how sweet it will be for him if the victory comes in the form of Permatang Pasir. To do that, Najib wooed the Hindus by becoming the first PM to visit Batu Caves since the past 30 years. Garlanded and with an almost 50 feet high replica, Najib stands tall in Batu Caves. Will he still stand as tall on 25th August 2009?
PAS needs the win badly too. In part to prove that they are still a force to be reckon with. PAS has to prove that the "so-called" split in PAS is just another political propaganda.
Being a state by-election, local issues will hog the limelight. For Penang, it will be :-
- Jeff Ooi's statement which has been construed as bunching JIM as an extremist group. Although Jeff has apologised for any misunderstandings caused by his statement and brush it off as a minor hiccup, UMNO and BN will naturally use it to belittle DAP and PR;
- Kg Buah Pala will be an issue with the Indian voters. MIC may use the issue to gain some symphathy votes for BN whilst PR will use the issue to prove that it is a caring government;
- H1N1 may be an issue if the Health ministry is not seen to take any concrete efforts to educate the masses and to contain the health threat;
- PR will be looking forward to list out their uccess story whilst BN will be looking into PR's failures. Another issue that may be brought up by BN shall be the local councillor's appointment. BN is banking on personal grudges to catch PR off guard;
Enough for now. EC has choose to cook Permatang Pasir as medium-cooked dish. Let BN and PR offer the available sauces whilst the voters will choose whether they want to stick with PR or BN.
As I see it, Permatang Pasir will not be as hot as Manek Urai and the cool Ramadan nights will melt angry and militant souls...Will Najib pray Terawih side by side with Anwar? Will Muhyiddin "moreh" together with Hadi and Nik Aziz? The answer will be in Permatang Pasir...
Till then...G'nite M'sia...wherever u are...