PAS retains Shah Alam in referendum against racism

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By Zurairi AR

SHAH ALAM, May 6 — PAS’s Khalid Abdul Samad successfully kept his Shah Alam federal seat by a wider margin in Election 2013, as voters rejected Barisan Nasional’s (BN) candidate Datuk Zulkifli Noordin.

The incumbent won 49,009 votes to Zulkifli’s 38,070, keeping a 10,939-vote gap from his rival.

The intense battle between the two men was seen as a referendum on the Muslim soul, with Khalid viewed as a champion of the progressive side of the faith kept by 60 per cent of the country’s 28 million people while Zulkifli, a former PAS and PKR member, was seen as a vocal campaigner for a return to a hardline stance.

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Since 2008, observers have seen a shift in sentiment among Shah Alam’s Malays who view PR with suspicion following several religious controversies, including Christians insisting on their right to use the term “Allah”, which many Malays believe to be exclusive to Muslims.

Shah Alam’s religious minority also took issue with right-wing Malay groups after the latter dragged a bloodied cow head to the state secretariat building in August 2008 to protest the state PR government’s decision to shift a Hindu temple into a Malay-majority residential neighbourhood.

In 2008, Khalid had beat BN’s Datuk Abdul Aziz Shamsuddin by a 9,314 majority, having lost to the same man in 2004 by a 13,410-vote majority.

Malays made up 69 per cent of the 100,076 registered voters in the seat, Chinese 15 per cent, and Indians 14 per cent.

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The polls have closed in Malaysia and the counting begun. The general election has been the most closely fought in the country’s history with the possibility that voters could put an end to a ... more 
The polls have closed in Malaysia and the counting begun. The general election has been the most closely fought in the country’s history with the possibility that voters could put an end to a run of 56 years in power for the ruling Barisan Nasional coalition. Despite trying to win over a growing middle class with social reforms, Prime Minister Najib Razak has come up against a momentum for change especially among young Malaysians. The three-party Pakatan Rakyat opposition alliance led by Anwar Ibrahim has pledged to clean up politics – it wants to break down a network of race-based patronage that has grown up over the past few decades. As the polls closed there were tales of suspected fraud allegedly carried out by the ruling coalition. Witnesses claimed that indelible ink could be easily washed off enabling some to cast ballots twice. Results electing the 222 seat parliament will begin to trickle in over the next few hours. less 
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