- Galas nomination: Where is Ku Li?

GALAS (Oct 26, 2010): As returning officer Wan Mustapa Abdul Hamid announced the face-off between Barisan Nasional's (BN) Ab Aziz Yusoff and PAS's Dr Zulkefli Mohamad, the question on everyone’s lips was "where’s Ku Li?"

Tengku Razaleigh Hamzah who was appointed BN’s director for the Galas by-election, was nowhere to be seen at the district office-turned-nomination centre.

Tengku Razaleigh being greeted by fellow BN leaders and supporters outside
the District Office.

Instead, he was waiting 100 metres away at the bottom of the hill where the district office is located.

Even as Ab Aziz walked through the gates of the district office, he was not flanked by any Umno stalwart – only Wanita Chief Datuk Seri Shahrizat Jalil and MCA vice-president Datuk Seri Dr Ng Yen Yen. Trailing behind was Umno secretary-general Datuk Tengku Adnan Tengku Mansor.

As 10am approached – when nominations closed – Tengku Razaleigh was yet to make his appearance at the nomination centre.

He refused to proceed to the district office premises, reportedly saying: "It’s okay. Let them handle it."

Ku Li was coy with reporters and didn’t say much more, although it was later learnt that he may have been slighted by a statement by Ab Aziz on Monday that he did not need Tengku Razaleigh to carry votes for him.

It took Kelantan liason chief Datuk Seri Mustapa Mohamad, Umno Youth chief Khairy Jamaluddin and several other Umno leaders to talk him into coming up to the nomination centre, where other BN leaders were seated.

He finally made a five-minute appearance at 10.30am and disappeared as quickly as he had arrived, back to his home in Bukit Chekati here.

"He doesn’t like the attention, that’s all," Mustapa told theSun. "I told him all his friends are waiting to see him, so he came."

Khairy meanwhile dismissed talks of "Ku Li merajuk". "No such thing! As all the other leaders were here, he left it to them to do their part," he said.

Ab Aziz played down the issue by saying the Gua Musang MP was spending time with supporters below the hill.

"I will definitely comply with Ku Li’s instructions and guidance because he is the election director. I am thankful for the help that the federal government and agencies have extended to me," he said.

BN's Ab Aziz (left) shakes hand with PAS's Zulkefli.
Ab Aziz said the benchmark of support from the public so far is the rousing turnout at the launch of the people’s housing project recently.

Zulkefli meanwhile said he will continue the legacy of PAS’s Chek Hashim Sulaima, whose death forced the country’s 13th by-election since 2008.

"We will continue to articulate the wishes of the people and speak on their behalf," said the camera-shy medical practitioner, preferring to let PAS president Datuk Seri Abdul Hadi Awang do most of the talking.

Accompanying them were other Pakatan Rakyat leaders including Lim Kit Siang, Azmin Ali and Husam Musa.

Kelantan Mentri Besar Datuk Seri Nik Abdul Aziz Nik Mat also made a brief appearance.

Meanwhile, an objection from PAS against Ab Aziz was rejected. The party had questioned if he had resigned as Kelantan South Development (Kesedar) operations manager.

The Elections Commission (EC) later confirmed receiving Ab Aziz resignation letter.

On his nomination form, Ab Aziz states his employment status as unemployed.

The EC’s decision to implement a 180-metre buffer between supporters seemed to work, as skirmishes were kept to a minimum. The only altercation was between PAS supporters and the police when the pathway to the nomination centre for Zulkefli became too crowded.

Galas state seat by-election

Candidates: Abdul Aziz Yusoff, 49, (BN), former Kesedar operations manager;
Dr Zulkefli Mohamad, 44, (PAS) medical practitioner

Total voters: 11,553 (including 127 postal voters)
7,125 Malay ( 61.7%)
2,317 Chinese (20.06%)
185 Indian
1,889 Orang Asli
10 Siamese

2008 general election: Che Hashim Sulaima, 46, (PAS) won the seat with a 646-vote margin by garnering 4,399 votes against BN's Saufi Deraman's 3,753.

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