Barisan wins big to keep Terengganu

BESUT - Barisan Nasional has won convincingly in Kuala Besut, keeping its hold on the state government.

It also won in all the polling districts, including in PAS strongholds like Kampung Baharu, Kampung Nangka and Bukit Puteri.

Barisan candidate Tengku Zaihan Che Ku Abd Rahman (centre) managed to garner 8,288 votes to beat PAS' Endut@Azlan Yusof by 2,592 votes. There were 125 spoilt votes.

The majority secured by the 37-year-old engineer was higher than that secured by then Barisan candidate, the late Dr Abdul Rahman Mokhtar, in the general election. He had beaten PAS' Napsiah Ismail by a majority of 2,434.

Businessman Azlan, 48, only managed to get 5,696 votes.

Despite repeated denials by PAS days before polling, there was talk that Pakatan Rakyat had planned to press for a state-wide election if the Islamist party had won the seat and equalled the number of seats held by Barisan in the state legislative assembly to 16:16.

The nearly 2,600 majority is quite an accomplishment considering that the voter turnout yesterday was only 79.78 per cent compared to 87 per cent in the general election.

The fact that the by-election was held on a working day could have prevented many voters living outside Terengganu and in neighbouring Kelantan from coming back to cast their ballot.

Minister in the Prime Minister's Department Datuk Seri Shahidan Kassim, who led a group of campaigners from Perlis, said the bigger win was the most apt present for Barisan chairman Datuk Seri Mohd Najib Tun Razak, who celebrated his 60th birthday on Tuesday.