Friday, August 22, 2008

The Other Guy


Hanafi has big plans should he win the by-election.
By Adib Zalkapli

SEBERANG JAYA, Aug 22 — Hanafi Mamat. That name will be on the ballot paper for the Permatang Pauh by-election this Aug 26.

He is among the trio of names in a historic by-election that is seen as a walk in a park for opposition icon Datuk Seri Anwar Ibrahim to win and enter Parliament just days shy of a decade of being sacked on corruption and sodomy charges.

Just a week ago, Hanafi was a virtual unknown that even the police had barred him from entering the nomination centre, doubting the authenticity of his identification card issued by the Election Commission.

After much persuasion, he was let in.

When the returning officer announced the list of candidates for the Permatang Pauh by-election, the turbaned and robed Hanafi walked up the stage alone unlike the BN’s Datuk Arif Shah Omar Shah and Anwar, who were escorted by dozens of supporters.

A week after nomination, there is still no sign of the three-cornered fight that Hanafi caused with his entry, as his Akim party workers have yet to put up their posters.

But the Angkatan Keadilan Insan Malaysia (Akim) president, who split from Pas to set up his party, exuded confidence at his tiny operations centre near Bukit Tengah here.

He was flanked by four national Akim leaders, all unknowns on the political stage from a party that has never won an election, as he spoke of his plans for Permatang Pauh and Malaysia.

Financial prudence seemed uppermost on his mind as Hanafi disclosed he would only spend RM20,000 for the campaign and he was printing posters and other campaign materials in his home state Kelantan as it was cheaper than in Penang.

“It is even cheaper in Thailand, but it was not possible for us to go there,” he added.

The Kelantan factor is strong in his campaign as some 200 of his reportedly 20,000 supporters nationwide, mostly from Kelantan, are campaigning in Permatang Pauh while saving money by staying mostly in relatives’ homes and mosques.

Hanafi, who left Permatang Pauh after the nomination and returned yesterday, expressed confidence in creating an impact in the by-election but hesitated to predict the outcome.

“So far, I think we have managed to attract 35 per cent of the BN voters and 35 per cent from the PKRside,” the soft-spoken Hanafi told The Malaysian Insider in his thick Kelantan dialect

Like Anwar, Permatang Pauh appears to be Hanafi’s stepping stone to bigger things as he spoke about his campaign and view of Malaysian issues.

“I am here to promote national unity. PKR and BN cannot solve the problems. Only Akim can work towards solving the problems as we are not divisive,” he said, continuing the theme when expressing concern with the drifting economy.

“We need leaders who are interested to bring prosperity to the country. I don’t want the country to be in a situation where one side is bringing development to the country while the other is trying to bring the country down.”

But most importantly for Hanafi is spiritual development.

“Other parties just talk about physical development. We are also here to promote spiritual development as well as human capital development.”

He expressed concern about Anwar’s plans to take over Putrajaya. “If the cross over happens the country will be in turmoil. But I personally believe that he will not make it,” he said.

Speaking about Putrajaya, Hanafi said he was not ambitious but was willing to take over if MPs support him.

“If I am forced to definitely I will accept it, although I am not too keen to be the Prime Minister,” he said.

“But should I get elected to represent Permatang Pauh, I will negotiate with other MPs not for positions, but to bring prosperity and unity to this country,” he added.

“Even if Akim is able to, we are not interested to govern the country all by ourselves. We need cooperation from other parties and most importantly the people.”

Most importantly, he promised to move to Permatang Pauh, if elected.

“I will be here to serve the people better. I will let my children to take care of my business in Kelantan,” said Hanafi, who claims to be a property agent.

Source

*Good luck kepada Encik Hanafi. Semoga tak hilang deposit pilihanraya.

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