March 24, 2004

Being Too Ambitious Proved Costly For PAS- Analyst

KOTA BAHARU, March 24 (Bernama) -- Being too ambitious and pushing forward to take even Kedah and Perlis under its wing proved costly for PAS in the just concluded general election in which it lost Terengganu and came near to losing its base, Kelantan.
Instead of consolidating its position in Kelantan and Terengganu it employed the wrong strategy of going for the kill in Kedah and Perlis as well, political analyst Prof Datuk Dr Syed Arabi Idid who was in Kelantan throughout the campaign period said.
"PAS was complacent in Kelantan and Terengganu. It felt it can keep the two states for good and focused its effort instead in Kedah and Perlis," said Dr Syed Arabi who is the Dean of the Research Faculty at the International Islamic University of Malaysia.
The Barisan Nasional (BN) saw through this PAS strategy and went all out in Terengganu which it won and went for the kill in Kelantan where it managed to win 21 seats compared to PAS's 24, he said in an interview with Bernama.
The election result had been most disappointing to PAS which lost its prized possession, Terengganu, after being in power for just one term and in Kelantan they lost close to half the seats in the State Assembly.
In Terengganu, PAS now has four seats compared to the 28 which it won in 1999 while in Kelantan it is left clutching to power with a three-seat majority in the State Assembly.
Dr Syed Arabi said PAS should not focus anymore on old issues and instead adopt a more strategic approach to safeguard Kelantan and the interests of its people.
The BN strategy of stressing on development, progress and facilities went down well with the people, he said.
He said the BN had to shoulder the heavy responsibility of building on its gains in Kelantan and ensuring that it retained people's confidence in it.
Even though the BN did not win outright power in Kelantan it still need to fulfil all the pledges it made to the people in the state where they had returned it in 21 state and eight parliamentary constituencies, he said.
The BN should also keep to its promises in Terengganu as the people in Kelantan would be closely watching developments there following the BN win.
Dr Syed Arabi said if the BN carried out all its pledges in Terengganu, its chances in Kelantan would be better.
According to him the most significant factor in changing the mood of the people in the two states towards the BN was the Prime Minister Datuk Seri Abdullah Ahmad Badawi himself.
"Abdullah is the pulling factor in the BN. His personality, moderation, his mission and his vision, integrity and credibility touched the people and they gave him the opportunity to lead the country," he said.

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