COMMENT Voters in Merlimau and Kerdau go the polls today. Despite the expected Umno victories, campaigning continued until midnight last night in an all-out effort to win as large a majority as possible for Umno, and for PAS, to deny its rival a clean sweep.

Although these contests have been low-key, both Umno and PAS did not give up ground. Their campaigns foreshadow real challenges in the evolution of campaigning in rural areas.

While there are some innovations in these recent rounds of campaigning, there are real tensions underlying these campaigns, as both sides are struggling to come to terms with a more sophisticated electorate that expects more from their politicians, even in the rural areas...

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