KUALA LUMPUR, Nov 21 — Around six out of 10 Kemaman voters polled said they disagreed with the petition filed to the Election Court to nullify Perikatan Nasional’s (PN) Che Alias Hamid’s victory in the seat during the 15th general election (GE15), according to a recent survey.
The survey organised by the state government-linked Terengganu Strategic and Integrity Institute (TSIS) also said that over half of respondents felt that the Election Court’s decision was “inconsistent” and “politically motivated”.
“We conducted our survey for 12 days beginning on October 29 and ending on November 9 where we found 61 per cent of respondents disagreeing with the petitioner’s action.
“Meanwhile, 53 per cent of respondents felt the court’s decision was inconsistent while another 52 per cent said it was politically motivated,” TSIS said in a press release here.
The survey found that only 27 per cent of respondents agreed with the action by voter Wan Mohamad Hisham Wan Abdul Hamid, which eventually led to a by-election scheduled for December 2.
The survey also found that nearly six out of 10 respondents felt the handouts given by the Terengganu government prior to the Parliament’s dissolution — which became the basis of the petition — were not against the law or Islamic teachings.
“The majority or 58 per cent of respondents believed that giving cash aid to the hardcore poor, single mothers, persons with disability, and the elderly is not against the law nor the principles of Islam as the petitioners are claiming,” it said.
Only one-third of respondents, or 33 per cent, said they disagreed that the move did not contravene any law or Islamic teachings.
“As such, we need clear guidelines or rules that govern how to approach handouts during an election to keep the court’s integrity, ensure smooth government operations and avoid causing the public any distress moving forward,” TSIS said.
TSIS also said that 74 per cent of voters polled said they would go out and vote on December 2.
The think tank said that 1,356 voters were interviewed for this survey either by face-to-face interactions or through the phone. From that 1,279 were Malays, 71 were ethnic Chinese, and six were ethnic Indians, comprising 670 women and 688 male respondents.
TSIS describes itself as a think tank agency to formulate policies and directions for the Terengganu state government by producing relevant policy research and strategic plans.
Its chairman is Terengganu State Legislative Assembly Speaker Mohd Nor Hamzah, while the son of PAS president Tan Sri Abdul Hadi Awang — Muhammad Khalil — also sits on the board.
On September 26, election judge Datuk Anselm Charles Fernandis accepted allegations that there had been bribery in several official events of the Terengganu state government through the distribution of i-Belia and i-Siswa aid funds to voters during the GE15 campaign period to garner votes for Che Alias, who is a Terengganu PAS committee member.
In GE15 held on November 19 last year, Che Alias had won the Kemaman seat in a four-cornered fight with 65,714 votes, which gave him a 27,179-vote majority over Barisan Nasional (BN) candidate and Terengganu Umno chief Datuk Seri Ahmad Said. Ahmad was the candidate with the second-highest number of votes at 38,535.
The Election Commission has set November 28 as early voting for the Kemaman by-election. BN is fielding a former Chief of Defence Forces General (Rtd) Tan Sri Raja Mohamed Affandi Raja Mohamed Noor as its candidate, while the PAS candidate is Terengganu Menteri Besar Datuk Seri Ahmad Samsuri Mokhtar.