Outstation voters, the deciding factor between PAS and Umno in Terengganu? | MalaysiaNow

Wan Hana Wan Jusoh was born and raised in the capital Terengganu but left for Kuala Lumpur 10 years ago to find work.

He found a job in a private company and soon settled down. But every election season, he returns to his hometown to vote.

Wan Hana voted for the first time in the 13th general election (GE13) in 2013, where Barisan Nasional (BN) retained its hold on the state albeit with a reduced majority.

Led by his lynchpin party Umno, BN won 17 seats in the state assembly while PAS, then part of Pakatan Rakyat, won 14. The remaining seats were won by PKR.

“I was 27 at the time, and I voted for BN,” Wan Hana told MalaysiaNow. “But I wouldn’t describe myself as a hardcore supporter of the coalition.”

Back then, he said, he chose Umno and BN because he felt they had more to offer the people of Terengganu.

“The BN-Umno administration was very generous and gave a lot of help, especially to the youth,” she said.

“And I voted for the first time – who doesn’t like to get a lot of help?”

However, in the next two general elections, Wan Hana switched camps and voted for PAS instead.

“Umno had a lot of problems during GE14 with the corruption issues of Najib Razak and 1MDB,” she said.

“The Umno administration in Kedah also started experiencing problems. There was a lot of wastage and a lot of white elephant projects.

“And when Umno chose its candidates, it fielded individuals who had already been rejected by the voters, non-local people,” he added.

Wan Hana said this angered many outstation voters, especially those who were already on the fence and chose to support PAS.

‘Unchanging’

BN’s performance declined further in GE15, where the coalition won only 30 seats nationwide.

Wan Hana said he would not be surprised if the trend continues in the Terengganu election on August 12.

“BN-Umno does not seem to have changed, and PAS seems to be doing well in managing the state.

“There are no major issues that angered the voters. My other friends say the same.”

Awasi Mohamad, secretary of Terengganu Children’s Leadership in Perantauan or Perantau, said that voters outside the station contributed a lot to PAS’s victory in the state.

“We don’t have detailed information on their numbers,” he said. “But we estimate that up to 10% or 15% of voters in each state constituency are outstation voters.

“We predict that the wave of out-of-town voters will be huge this time, not only in Terengganu but in every state facing elections.”

PAS defeated BN in Terengganu in GE14, its second victory since 1999. The Islamist party won 22 out of 32 state seats and six out of eight parliamentary seats while BN won only two.

In GE15 in November, it made all the eight federal seats in the state clean. Some were won with large majorities, including Marang where PAS president Abdul Hadi Awang cruised to victory with a majority of nearly 42,000.

Behind the success of PAS

Analyst Mazlan Ali agreed that outstation voters played a big role in PAS’s victory in Terengganu.

Mazlan, of Universiti Teknologi Malaysia, said 85% of outstation voters chose PAS in GE15.

“PAS won in GE14 and GE15 because there was a wave,” he said.

“This is the wave that triggered the support of outstation voters. That is how PAS got such a huge victory.”

Without this wave, he added, neither would PAS.

“In 1999, PAS won Terengganu because of the Anwar Ibrahim wave when it formed a partnership with PKR and DAP.

“But in 2004, because there was no wave, PAS lost. The same thing happened in GE12. It was only in GE13 that PAS saw some revival in Terengganu.”

Mazlan said PAS will struggle if outstation voters do not return for the election but will let it depend on the traditional vote of its supporters.

“Outstation voters will be the deciding factor because Umno is actually strong as well, not like in Kelantan,” he said.

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