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A day in Port Dickson

  • Perhaps these are the two things Anwar needs most now: trust from the Malay society and support from Mahathir, which can both be seen here in Port Dickson.

Sin Chew Daily

I met nasi lemak seller Aishah at Sunggala night market in Port Dickson.

She told me delightfully, "Datuk Seri Anwar came to my stall just now. I took pictures and shook hands with him."

"Wow! Datuk Seri is your idol, huh?" I asked.

"Of course! I'm not going to wash my hands for days!"

Not everyone at the night market was as excited as Aishah. They politely shook hands with Anwar and then got back to their chores.

Sunggala is a Malay-majority neighborhood, and the night market here is among the busiest in town. Understandably it is a must-visit place for candidates.

Not long after Anwar left the night market, another candidate, Mohd Isa Samad, arrived.

I noticed that the elderly here appeared to be more familiar with Isa while the younger were generally more indifferent to him.

A young stall owner asked a friend after Isa left, "So, this is Isa Pendik, ya?"

Ia Pendik is Mohd Isa's nickname acquired when he was MB three decades ago.

When Isa came to Aishah's stall, she also shook hands with him politely, and asked for a badge with his picture on it.

I asked Aishah why she also supported Isa.

"No, I only support Anwar, but my father is Isa's supporter and I want to bring this badge home for him."

Port Dickson is a mixed constituency with 43% of Malay voters, 33% Chinese and 22% Indians.

Such a racial make-up gives Anwar the upper hand, but as the country's next prime minister, Anwar needs to win it big, with significant Malay support in order to be convincing.

If Anwar wins only with strong support from the Chinese and Indians, his image, along with that of PKR and Pakatan Harapan in the Malay society, will be compromised. And this will also give Umno and PAS a good reason to attack Anwar as the "future PM" is not representing majority of Malays.

Anwar absolutely has the confidence to win the Malay votes.

In GE14, although Danyal Balagopal Abdullah won the parliamentary seat, he lost in two predominantly Malay state seats Bagan Pinang and Linggi.

The older generation are still sentimentally attached to Isa, who was MB for more than 20 years.

Anwar and Isa will vie for the precious Malay votes in PD. As for PAS' Mohd Nazari, many seem to have given him a miss.

A retired soldier to me most of the Malays would continue to support Isa.

"Even though he has left Umno, and Umno does not field a candidate here, Umno supporters will have to pick Isa."

But his image among the younger generation has been tainted by money politics and Felda scandal.

PD voters staying outstation make up more than 30% of the total, and most of them are youngsters. If these people do not return to PD in droves to vote, Isa may have an advantage.

This is what concerns Anwar.

From Sunggala I went to Linggi where there was a major ceramah featuring Anwar Ibrahim,

In front of the listeners, Anwar was trying very hard to convince the Malay society that the PH government will continue to protect the rights of the Malays. He also told them he was having a good relationship with Tun Mahathir and that Mahathir would come to PD on Monday to campaign for him.

Perhaps these are the two things Anwar needs most now: trust from the Malay society and support from Mahathir, which can both be seen here in Port Dickson.



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