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Friday, November 1, 2013

A visit that shows Pas is running out of ideas

Publication: NST
Date of publication: Oct 28, 2013
Section heading: Main Section
Page number: 004
Byline / Author: By Adie Suri Zulkefli

PROPHET Muhammad encouraged Muslims to visit people suffering from ailments and to pray for their recovery.

In a hadith related by Ibnu Majah, the Prophet was quoted as saying that those who visit a sick Muslim is similar to a person taking a walk in paradise park until he stops and 70,000 angels will be praying for the person's wellbeing.

This is how Islam stresses the importance for Muslims to visit their relatives and friends who are sick or suffering from a disaster.

As the Sungai Limau by-election campaign heats up, it is common for Barisan Nasional and Pas candidates to make house-to-house calls.

Apart from introducing themselves to the 27,222 voters in the constituency, the visits are also part of the sunnah propagated by the Prophet.

Among the many visits during the campaign so far, a ziarah by Pas candidate Mohd Azam Abd Samat, accompanied by the party's Sungai Limau by-election machinery director Datuk Mahfuz Omar, has caught the attention of many.

It was supposed to be an ordinary visit to Baharom Ramli, who suffered a stroke three years ago.

But the fact that Baharom, 77, is the father of Minister in the Prime Minister's Department Datuk Seri Jamil Khir Baharom has made it an extraordinary visit.

Mahfuz and company may have had genuine intention behind the visit, despite it being the by-election campaign period.

However, their motive became a subject of scrutiny after photographs and a video of the visit were uploaded onto the Internet and reported by Pas' organ, Harakahdaily.

Towards the end of the two minute and 50-second video, Mahfuz said Baharom had prayed for Azam's victory in the Nov 4 by-election.

Jamil, who is also Jerai member of parliament and Jerai Umno division chief, had since extended his "appreciation" to Mahfuz and company for the visit.

Yet, he made it clear that the part where his father had allegedly prayed for Azam's win was nothing but Mahfuz's imagination.

The incident drew criticism even among Pas loyalists in Jerai and Sungai Limau.

Such campaigning style is an irony to Pas, especially during the time of the late Tan Sri Azizan Abdul Razak, who served Sungai Limau for 18 years.

The former menteri besar was known as a friendly assemblyman, who would attend Umno members' funerals. Yet, he had never got them publicised and published.

Mahfuz's "friendly visit" did not came as a surprise.

Pas' machinery is scrambling for genuine issues to campaign in Sungai Limau.

Despite pledging a harmonious and peaceful campaign, Mahfuz and company are now training their guns at Menteri Besar Datuk Mukhriz Mahathir.

This had prompted Mukhriz to question the honesty of Pas leaders: are they campaigning for the party or manipulating the Sungai Limau by-election to campaign for themselves ahead of party polls.

Having lost Kedah to BN in the last general election, Mahfuz, who will be defending his vice-president's post in Pas' muktamar, to be held in less than a month, is struggling to find a potent weapon.

Pas and its Pakatan partners suddenly found a lifeline in their desperation to fend off BN's assault in Sungai Limau by exploiting the Goods and Services Tax (GST) announced in the 2014 Budget.

They have since turned GST into a main topic in their ceramah, overloading the people's mind with ideas that the BN government was squeezing the people with it.

Although Pakatan leaders themselves knew the significance of GST to the nation's future, it did not stop them from manipulating the issue.

Deputy Prime Minister Tan Sri Muhyiddin Yassin had vowed that the BN machinery would be going to the ground to counter the opposition's lies on GST, expressing his confidence that BN's chances would not be affected.

The BN machinery's capability in fending off lies on the issue will be put into test now in Sungai Limau.

With a week left before the 27,222 voters in the constituency go to the polls, BN must go into full swing to disarm Pakatan's new found "missile".

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