In the name of Allah, Most Merciful, Most Compassionate; blessings and peace be upon Prophet Muhammad s.a.w.
"Anyone who obeys the Messenger has obeyed God..." (Nisaa 4:80)
INTICIPATING the 13th general election that is just around the corner, the writer made a quick dash through the four Pakatan Rakyat administrated states (Selangor, Pulau Pinang, Kedah and Kelantan) from 17th to 21 December to hear grouses and comments by man on the street.
From my hometown in Melaka, I took the North South Highway heading north on Saturday morning and stopped at Masjid UPM (situated in Selangor) to perform the ‘zuhur’ and ‘asar’ jamak (combined) prayers. On the grounds of Masjid UPM, I saw two groups of people gathered around two would be ‘pengantin perempuan’ (brides) that would be ‘nikah’ (solemnized in marriage) in the masjid.
Late that afternoon, the writer attended a wedding reception of a friend’s son at a masjid in Ampang (also in Selangor). Some non-Malays were seen attending the ‘majlis’, so it was a harmonious one.
That scene was lovely; and as at the ‘masjid’ people were going and doing their routine chores in the state; everything is apparently in place and not going through a ‘terrible condition’ as described by a few Selangor delegates in the recently concluded Umno General Assembly. One speaker said she was “terseksa” (facing torture) under the Pakatan Rakyat administration.
Regarding the eagerness of Umno leaders to capture Selangor, my friend Ramli Adam who is involved in the media industry and lives in Klang, told me that “UBAN “ (Umno-Barisan Nasional) would ‘throw everything’ they have the administration of the state is back into the hands of Umno.
As an example he said, Datuk Habibah Mohd Yusof, the Tanjung Karang Wanita Umno Chief, said they would face the "do the die battle." She belittled the Selangor Pakatan Rakyat with this poem, entitled ‘Selangor Kini’:
“Pakatan rakyat makin terdesak,
DAP pula sentiasa mengasak,
Otak MB dah makin rosak,
Betul ke tidak?
Rakyat Selangor sudah masak,
Ke mana-mana orang,
Dah mula berborak,
Menyokong PR parti,
(Pakaran Rakyat is under pressure
The DAP always aggressive
The MB's brain has degenerated
Are they correct?
The people of Selangor are conscious
Their act is obvious
Whence people are now talking
Supporting the PR,
A useless party)
After Selangor, I continued my journey to the northern states. The North South highway was ‘merry’ during this school holiday. I stopped a few times at the RR for some quick naps; and before the ‘azan subuh’ (dawn call for prayers) I was already in a masjid in Pendang, Kedah.
The calmness and sereneness of the morning while driving on the Pendang-Alor Setar road with paddy fields on each side of it, lit up inspiration in me. Alor Setar traffic was busy as usual that morning; people doing their usual chores.
From Alor Setar, I took the trunk road to Kangar and then to Arau before heading back to the Kedah state capital via Jitra. During the journey, I stopped to have a rest at Dataran Rindu Alam, near Kangar.
The tourist spot with a cave to explore has excellent facilities such as two ‘surau’ (for men and women) but they are in dire condition; such as the ablution area which is dirty. I too stopped at a restaurant named Anjung Keli; the food served there especially the fried ‘keli’ (catfish) was excellent. In Kedah I had a stop at some areas and spent the night in Kota Kuala Muda.
In Kedah, the locals told me, the Pakatan Rakyat government did a good job; the majority of people had nothing to complain. They said there was no big issue in Kedah; the opposition had to resort to making a mountain out of a mole hill for example making an issue out of a surau that had to be shifted in an urban area of Alor Setar.
After Kedah, I left for Pulau Pinang; entering the island by using the ferry. Then I drove along the expressway to Bukit Jambul where I stayed at level 22 of a hotel. The view of Pulau Pinang from my hotel room was lovely; high rise buildings dominated the area.
While driving along its highways and roads, I noticed Pulau Pinang roads were without plots or pots and vases of expensive flowers on road shoulders or dividers as seen in other cities and towns. In some areas, the grass had grown too long; perhaps the authorities were trying to cut the cost of operations. Overall Pulau Pinang (Georgetown) is a clean city.
While having lunch at a Malay restaurant in Bukit Jambul, I saw a group of about 10 Indian youth entering and having food in it. Then while driving along a back road, I saw tens of people lining to buy food at a ‘mamak’ (Kayu) restaurant. So things are going as usual in this Pakatan Rakyat controlled state.
After Pulau Pinang, I travelled along the ‘Jambatan Pulau Pinang’ and then moved to the Kulim highway, then was on the road to Grik, Perak. I drove along the East West Highway; it was smooth all the way and in four hours I reached Jeli, a small town in another Pakatan Rakyat (PAS) administered state (Kelantan).
I moved on to Tanah Merah and then took the alternative road to Kota Bharu via Pasir Mas. For the night, I stayed at a homestay near Wakaf Che Yeh. The homestay was near a surau, after prayers I had the opportunity to talk to a few ‘jemaah’ (congregators).
One ‘jemaah’ told me that for the coming general election, the chances of Pakatan Rakyat and Barisan Nasional winning the election was 50-50; but another one predicted Pakatan (PAS) would still have the edge if PAS spiritual leader, Tok Guru Nik Abdul Aziz Nik Mat led his party in the election.
This ‘jemaah’ surprised me when he said, some PAS state leaders are liabilities and they should be removed or not chosen as candidates in the coming election.
He said as a local, he knew their ‘games’, hence it was better for them to give up their position before they were told to do so by party leaders.
He warned some Umno candidates would make inroads in the coming elections; PAS had to work extra hard to maintain their status quo.
From Wakaf Che Yeh, I drove to Kota Bharu in the morning of 21st December. The Kuala Kerai-Kota Bharu road was chocked with traffic; it took me almost an hour to reach the city centre.
Business runs as usual in Kota Bharu but surprisingly the markets and shopping areas are not crowded with people as experienced during school holidays; perhaps outsiders had been warned about the probability Kelantan would hit by the flood during this period.
From Kota Bharu, I drove to Pasir Putih and then passed the Kelantan-Terengganu border; thus ended my quick dash thru the Pakatan Rakyat states. In my opinion, these states would be still under the Rakyat administration after the 13th general election, but beware because UBAN would be up to its tricks to wrestle it at any costs!