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PAS’ narrow 65-vote victory in Manek Urai was a surprise since most analysts, including myself, were expecting a more comfortable PAS victory, albeit one with the reduced majority compared to the 2008 results.

The ‘saluran’ or polling stream results show that BN made headway against PAS in all areas including splitting the vote almost 50/50 among the younger voters.

While Najib can take some credit for BN’s improved performance with his policy activism on the economic and political front, including getting rid of the teaching of science and mathematics in English and the announcement of a list of ‘goodies’ or ‘giveaways’ in his 100th day in office, PAS must take the lion’s share of the blame for the steep loss in support that almost cost it the seat.

The proposed unity talks between PAS and Umno made the Islamic party less distinctive, confused the voters and gave Umno an increased sense of legitimacy which no doubt contributed to the BN’s increase in vote share in Manek Urai.

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