Its nomination day for Kuala Terengganu Parliamentary by-election. BN candidate Wan Farid Wan Salleh is facing an uphill task to defend the Umno seat from his challengerMohd Abdul Wahid Endot of Pas.
That's what the general perception is. Difficult, 50-50 or tight contest can be expected when the two bank their political hopes, come polling day on January 17.
The environment in Kuala Terengganu is heating up. Late yesterday, Deputy Prime Minister Datuk Seri Najib Tun Razak launched the BN taskforce centre before 5,000 BN supporters. The applause and cheers were encouraging enough but many agreed to the fact that victory may elude BN again, just like what happened in Permatang Pauh.
Why? Most attendees were not from Kuala Terengganu Umno. Many came from as far as Johor, Melaka, Selangor, Perak, Kuala Lumpur and other states. Together with members of MCA, MIC and other component parties, they filled up the roar and excitement.
About a kilometre away from the Convention Hall of the Islamic Civilisation Centre, about 50 opposition members were busy with their banners and posters, not perturbed by the function which was also attended by Ali Rustam, Muhammad Muhd Taib, Rafidah Aziz, Koh Tsu Koon, Ong Tee Keat and other BN senior leaders.
Its going to be more colorful today. Should there be no 3rd candidate, it will be a one-to-one contest between BN and Pas.
More foreign journalists are coming this way, too. As this is an acid test for Mentri Besar Ahmad Said, it will also determine Najib's political strength before taking over from Datuk Seri Abdullah Badawi in March.
As the Malays make up the majority in the constituency, they will have to chart their own political journey into the next general elections. This will set the parameter as to how popular BN is, not only in Terengganu but nationwide.