Inter-Party Competition and Electoral Campaigning in Rural Malaysia: The Pendang and Anak Bukit By-Elections of 2002
The Pendang parliamentary and Anak Bukit by-elections for the Kedah state legislative assembly were among the most contentious of by-elections in recent Malaysian politics. Held simultaneously on 18 July 2002, the elections had arisen as a result of the death of the incumbent for both seats, Fadzil Noor. As Fadzil was leader of the Islamic Party of Malaysia (PAS) and Leader of the Opposition in Parliament, the contests had symbolic value as an indicator of the mid-term fortunes of both the ruling Barisan Nasional (National Front) and the Barisan Alternatif (Alternative Front). For the latter, it was a severe test for its continued credibility as an opposition force since the withdrawal of the Chinese-dominated Democratic Action Party (DAP) in late 2001. Being located in the rural heartlands of northern Malaysia, Pendang and Anak Bukit typically represent the impetuous atmosphere of grassroots Malay politics, infused with a strong element of politicised Islamic culture, and pitting the bitter rivals, PAS and the United Malays National Organisation (UMNO), in a head-on contest. Based on primary research in Pendang and Anak Bukit during the run-up to the elections, the paper examines the practice of rural democracy by looking at the politics of candidate nomination, the campaign organisation and strategies and the results from the point of view of participant observants and random interviewers. [Working Paper series no. 15]. URL:[http://www.ieas.unimas.my/images/stories/Rama%20dan%20Fauzi.pdf].
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