Barisan and Pakatan vow to be civil because of fasting month

BESUT, Malaysia - Both Barisan Nasional and Pakatan Rakyat have pledged to ensure a "gentleman's fight" during the Kuala Besut by-election.

Top leaders from the opposing sides made this promise to respect the wishes of the rakyat as campaigning falls during Ramadan.

Barisan deputy chairman Tan Sri Muhyiddin Yassin said: "We respect the sensitivity and wishes of the local folk. We have lined up campaign activities that will be carried out in a civil manner."

The by-election is a straight fight between Barisan's Tengku Zaihan Che Ku Abd Rahman, an engineer, and PAS' choice of Endut@Azlan Yusof, a businessman.

Muhyiddin said Barisan was banking on its fresh-faced candidate to woo Kuala Besut voters.

Later, he said the state government's stability would be affected should there be a hung assembly, adding that this would not serve the people's interest.

"The simple solution to this is for voters in Kuala Besut to continue supporting Barisan," he said.

Terengganu PAS commissioner Mohd Abdul Wahid Endut said there should not be mudslinging, adding that: "Both candidates are known to the locals, so let the people decide without us having to be overly aggressive in promoting them."

The candidates also pledged to hold a peaceful and respectful campaign.

Tengku Zaihan said he did not intend to "go overboard" although he was determined to go all-out to ensure a Barisan victory.

Azlan said that since it was Ramadan, there should be no personal attacks.

"I know my opponent and his family and he knows mine. In Besut, we are all friends," said Azlan.

Earlier, the two candidates submitted their nomination papers.

Azlan submitted his at 9.03am while Tengku Zaihan did so at 9.10am. At about 10.30am, returning officer A. Rahim Jusoh announced that no one else would be contesting in the by-election.

Muhyiddin, the election director, led other Barisan leaders including Umno vice-presidents Datuk Seri Shafie Apdal and Datuk Seri Hishammuddin Hussein, Barisan Youth chief Khairy Jamaluddin and Umno Puteri chief Datuk Rosnah Rashid Shirlin in their support of Tengku Zaihan.

Not to be outdone, Azlan arrived at the nomination centre accompanied by PAS president Datuk Seri Hadi Awang, PAS Murshidul Am Datuk Nik Abdul Aziz Nik Mat, DAP adviser Lim Kit Siang and PKR deputy president Azmin Ali.