Zaid claims not getting a fair fight
By Syed Jaymal Zahiid
KUALA KUBU BARU, April 25 — Pakatan Rakyat candidate Datuk Zaid Ibrahim laments fraud may narrow his chances of winning the Hulu Selangor by-election today.
The former law minister cited the recent relocation of 13,000 voters by the Election Commission (EC) as an example of how lopsided the contest for the parliamentary seat is.
“It is difficult,” a tired-looking Zaid told reporters while having a short lunch break after visiting several polling stations here.
“Casting a vote is fundamental but if you have the Orang Asli Affairs Department, the police and all this government agencies working for those in power… these are the difficulties,” said the former Umno man.
Opposition leaders claimed BN had manipulated government agencies to solicit support throughout the eight-day campaign trail which Zaid alleged was rife with fraud.
“Fraud means that is something that is not fair and unjust according to election laws,” stressed the Kelantan-born leader.
Asked if this means he has resigned to the fact that defeat is imminent, Zaid denied this, stressing that he remains confident of a win.
He played safe, saying that he will not speculate on the outcome but insisted that the Hulu Selangor voters are behind him.
“All the voters, Malays, Chinese, Indians, are with me,” he said confidently. “It is just a question of whether they are given a chance (to vote fairly),” Zaid complained.
At the same time the PKR leader blasted the provocation by Umno Youth supporters at various polling stations.
Apparently mocking his self-confessed drinking past, Zaid said he had been the victim of a deliberate intimidation attempts by his political rivals.
Up until lunch time, the former law minister had yet to speak to reporters or stop to visit his supporters at polling stations.
Zaid waves to supporters as he passes the Sekolah Kebangsaan Bandar Utama Batang Kali polling station today. — Picture by Jack Ooi“They were hurling abuses at me. They said I drink toddy, so I thought it was too much and I left.”
He also tweeted about the incident which took place in Rasa earlier this morning. He apologised to voters for failing to meet them.
Voter turnout for the Hulu Selangor vote has been good. It was 64 per cent as of 2pm.
PR polling agents, however, revealed that the number of Malay voters was low.
Leaders of the opposition are claiming a possible Umno boycott to BN candidate, the MIC’s information chief P. Kamalananthan.
The public relations practitioner was said to be a compromised candidate after a tug-of-war between Umno and the MIC over the right to field a candidate. The latter wanted a Malay candidate to contest while the MIC insisted that the BN lynchpin honour the tradition of placing an Indian candidate.
MIC deputy president Datuk G. Palanivel was Hulu Selangor MP for four terms until his ouster in Election 2008.
Allegations of a boycott by Umno supporters have yet to be verified but should it be true, Zaid may just upset the odds and pull off a surprise victory.