Hadi says PAS is confident of capturing Terengganu. — File pic
KUALA LUMPUR, Dec 2 — PAS has set its eyes on Umno-controlled Terengganu in the next general election, believing that it can recapture the state that it lost to Barisan Nasional (BN) in 2004.
Pakatan Rakyat (PR) lawmakers have predicted that elections will be held as early as the first quarter of next year, while the Najib administration has dismissed such speculation.
PAS president Datuk Seri Abdul Hadi Awang said the Islamist party was confident in wresting Terengganu from BN as the present state government had not brought about any significant changes since BN took over the state administration in 2004.
“We are confident of capturing Terengganu... Umno won over the state with crutches... what developments have there been over there? Only collapsible stadiums,” Hadi told The Malaysian Insider in an exclusive interview.
The Marang MP was confident that PAS would be able to overthrow the present BN state government with a “simple majority”, saying that a two-thirds majority was “not needed” to be given a mandate to rule Terengganu.
“In the last elections, we won Terengganu with eight seats, while although BN won, they did not win with a clean majority. However a two-thirds majority is not so important, a simple majority will be enough,” Hadi added.
The veteran politician claimed that many of the state laws which were gazetted by PAS before 2004 still remained “intact” under the BN state administration, saying that PAS had brought more development to the state than “Umno or BN ever did.”
“Under PAS, over 60,000 land applications were passed when PAS was in control of Terengganu. Umno is only keen on winning, so many of the laws introduced by PAS still remain intact till today,” said Hadi.
The PAS president said party officials had been visiting various constituencies in Terengganu since last year, and response has been favourable.
“We started last year, and will continue this year to see the progress in terms of our elections machinery. There are strengths, there are also weaknesses that need to be improved on. But we are ready for elections with Datuk Halim Abdul Rahman as PAS elections director.
“I myself am going back to Terengganu this weekend to visit the constituencies,” said Hadi, who added that PAS had also been conducting seminars on a state level to further “prepare” members and state leaders for the upcoming general election.
PAS first came to power in Terengganu in 1999, ending BN’s decades’ long rule of the state. The PAS state government of Terengganu was a short-lived one however as BN won back the state in 2004.
Besides Terengganu, Hadi also hinted that PAS would also win more state seats in Johor despite the state being an Umno stronghold.
“This can be done if Malays change their mindset and let PAS become the alternative for Umno and this can happen. We can win and this is not impossible, Malay votes can change and even in Johor today we already have two state seats.
“What is clear is that we will defend Kelantan, Kedah and take back Terengganu... the other states will be mixed seats which will be discussed with other PR parties. Sabah and Sarawak will also be discussed with PR parties,” said Hadi.
Asked whether there was still room for Umno-PAS unity talks, Hadi said that “chapter has been long closed.”
“That chapter has been closed and will not be reopened, that era has passed and Pakatan partners have agreed to move on.
“PAS is an experienced party. Right now, PAS is Umno’s number one competitor. Umno has no will to change, PAS is not willing to be with a party or government that has no political will to change,” said Hadi.
By Shazwan Mustafa Kamal TMI