The black, white and grey electoral areas in Tanjung Piai

PONTIAN, In the wake of the 14-day campaign for the Tanjung Piai parliamentary by-election, contesting parties and candidates need to come up with a strategy to penetrate the so-called ‘black’ polling district centre (PDM) area for them and look for ‘white’ area to ensure their victory.

In general, the ability to identify accurately the location of the white or black areas, and even grey area (an area with a 50-50 chance of winning) would be the most important factor for success.

However, the question remains on how to make sure if the interpretation of white, grey or black is done correctly and to change the colour of the area.

Each political party has its own strategy in identifying the colour of a certain area.

Pakatan Harapan (PH) machinery personnel Azlina Mehtab Mohd Ishaq said the machinery would distribute survey forms and mini-brochures on a candidate at designated locations as well as obtain feedback from residents and the local community.

Some welcomed us with open hearts, smiling and chatting. Some closed their doors. Some hang their party flags at the fence. There are all kinds of ways (to show their support), she told Bernama.

Bersatu president Tan Sri Muhyiddin Yassin said in comparison with the 14th General Election (GE14), the response in some PDM had improved after applying strategies like house-to-house visit, ceramah (public talks) for all races and religions.

We explain the importance of voting especially to young voters. They give good and not so good response. Whatever response we get, PH needs to work hard, he said.

Barisan Nasional (BN) chairman Datuk Seri Dr Ahmad Zahid Hamidi, who is also UMNO president, said in terms of the colour of the area, there were many different ways that had been used and planned by the party’s leadership, including using local dialect as well as keeping up with their culture and food.

If we can communicate in Javanese, then we’ll do it. The voters in Tanjung Piai are diverse. So, we need to have various strategies, he said.

Meanwhile, Gerakan candidate, Wendy Subramaniam, who is facing candidates from two major political parties, PH and BN, said she is trying to penetrate the black or grey PDM areas by reaching out to the people in coffee shops and public market early in the morning.

I prefer approaching the voters and hearing out their problems, she said.

Meanwhile, political analyst Dr Mohd Akbal Abdullah said the area is classified according to the polarisation of the voters based on current issues and localities as well as their preferred parties or leaders.

He explained, issues that arose before the campaign would be the focus of the voters and the community within any PDM to make their decisions.

Voters are getting smarter and they know what to do. The colour of the PDM will form on its own. Different approaches are necessary. If the area is white, the machinery needs to increase the party’s supporters to keep the people happy.

For grey area, there should be more information on the party’s stand on current issues so that the voters are clear and there would be no misunderstanding.

If the area is black, it seems like they have to work even harder, take the risk to enter the area or just ignore it. (The colour of) the area is not absolute, it depends on the efforts within these two weeks, he said.

The Tanjung Piai parliamentary by-election was called following the death of incumbent MP Datuk Dr Md Farid Md Rafik, 42, of PH on Sept 21 due to heart complications. Polling is on Saturday.

The by-election is seeing a six-cornered fight between Karmaine Sardini (PH), Datuk Seri Dr Wee Jeck Seng (BN), Wendy Subramaniam (Gerakan), Datuk Dr Badhrulhisham Abdul Aziz (Berjasa) and two independent candidates – Dr Ang Chuan Lock and Faridah Aryani Abd Ghaffar.

Source: BERNAMA (News Agency)