In Lembah Pantai battle, Nurul Izzah gets help from Nik Aziz
KUALA LUMPUR, April 26 — Despite his frail health, popular PAS leader Datuk Nik Abdul Aziz Nik Mat made a rare appearance here today to shore up support for Lembah Pantai’s PKR incumbent Nurul Izzah Anwar.
The PKR vice-president had roped in the PAS spiritual leader for her uphill battle to keep the federal seat from Barisan Nasional (BN) candidate, Senator Datuk Raja Nong Chik Raja Zainal Abidin in the May 5 general elections.
“The event was supposed to be a short one but the strong support shown by Pakatan Rakyat (PR) supporters...I think shows the importance of Nik Aziz in the elections,” Nurul’s political aide, Fahmi Fadzil told The Malaysian Insider.
The long-serving Kelantan mentri besar was given a hero’s welcome by about 200 locals who had gathered at the location of his ceramah about an hour before he arrived from Putrajaya.
Nik Aziz’s presence in Putrajaya, where he performed Friday prayers and spoke briefly to supporters, drew a large crowd, a testament to his influence among Malaysia’s majority Muslims.
In Lembah Pantai, he received a similar response albeit a smaller crowd as storm clouds had gathered in the sky. But supporters cramped the tiny surau in the Permai Permata flats and jostled each other just to watch him speak in support of the 32-year-old daughter of opposition leader Datuk Seri Anwar Ibrahim.
Nik Aziz’s appearance in the federal capital was also significant for the federal opposition pact as a whole because he oversaw the distribution of an open letter by a world-renowned Islamic cleric endorsing Anwar as fit to lead Malaysia if PR wins the May 5 polls.
“It is more or less a support,” Nurul told reporters after the ceramah although she maintained that the purported endorsement might not be “official”.
PR had faced a quandary in the tussle for the prime minister’s post after a faction in PAS, despite their earlier endorsement, started pushing forward its party president Datuk Seri Abdul Hadi Awang for the job.
But PR has so far been able to project an image of unity throughout the campaign.
Its ability to resolve the seat allocations’ conundrum was one such example, observers noted while Nik Aziz’s campaign in the Lembah Pantai flats, which BN have made a fortress of, could strengthen that perception.
Nurul is facing a juggernaut in Umno’s Raja Nong Chik who, as federal territories and urban well-being minister, wields a bigger advantage since much of the problems facing voters here fall under his ministry’s purview.
Nik Aziz, however, said voters have grown weary of BN’s tactic of splashing goods to court support and justice, be it on May 5 or beyond, will prevail.
“If they try to fool you, just fool them back. What’s the problem?” he said.