The weather in Terengganu may be erratic but, come rain or shine, the potential candidates of the Kuala Terengganu parliamentary by-election and others politically inclined are all set for Nomination Day tomorrow.
While dark clouds loomed and rain fell in several districts in the state, resulting in the continuation of floods which cut off road communication in some places, the state capital by contrast basked in sunshine for the most part of the day.
And the atmosphere has turned somewhat electric as election fever began tightening its grip.
Hotels are ringing in brisk business, with many of them indicating they are fully booked, while eateries are packed with hordes of out-of-towners as can be discerned from the vehicles bearing non-Terengganu registration plates.
The strong winds of the current monsoon season have also given added flutter to the banners, flags and buntings of the political parties vying for greater visibility.
To keep the peace, there is heavy police presence, with about 6,000 personnel stationed at strategic locations as a precaution.
The Meteorological Department has forecast fine weather tomorrow morning for Kuala Terengganu but it would be wet in the afternoon.
When the Stadium Negeri opens its doors at 9am tomorrow, four “wakil rakyat” aspirants are expected to turn up to submit their nominations.
Four potential candidates have declared their intention to contest the by-election, necessitated by the death of MP Datuk Razali Ismail, who was deputy education minister, on Nov 28.
Former deputy home minister Datuk Wan Ahmad Farid Wan Salleh has been named by the Barisan Nasional (BN) as its candidate while PAS has announced five-term Wakaf Mempelam state assemblyman Mohd Abdul Wahid Endut as its choice.
Angkatan Keadilan Insan Malaysia (Akim) is also joining the fray through Harun alias Abdul Rahman Mohamad while Isma Airfath Hassanuddin is likely to contest as an independent.
But the excitement of tomorrow’s nomination will miss “Tok Mun” or Maimun Yusof, the 89-year-old who grabbed headlines in the last general election by campaigning on a bicycle. She has opted to stay out this time around as she claimed that she did not have the funds to pay the deposit.
A check with the Terengganu Election Commission (EC) revealed that 11 sets of nomination forms had been sold so far.
“But that does not reflect the total number of people who will contest,” said Terengganu EC director Mohd Noor Daud.
Irrespective of the number, the battle for the seat will obviously be narrowed down to that between BN and PAS.
For the BN, winning the by-election is crucial because it wants to consolidate its two-term grip on the seat while PAS wants to wrest it back as it deems the constituency to be its one-time stronghold.
From tomorrow, campaigning is expected to pick up steam and become more intense as campaign workers and supporters fan out to win the hearts and minds of the 80,229 registered voters before they cast their ballots on Jan 17.
The EC is preparing 36 polling centres and 143 polling streams for the by-election.