The small town of Manek Urai has been buzzing with activities since early this morning with thousands of supporters from both PAS and Umno mobilising to back their respective candidates to file in their nomination papers.
While nomination period is set to open at 9am, the supporters from both sides of the divide had started gathering at their respective meeting points since 7am.
Umno members who gathered at the party headquarters in Kuala Krai kept themselves busy by playing traditional drums and gongs to the dikir barat beat while waiting for their national leaders to arrive.
First to arrive on the scene was the party’s state chief Mustapa Mohamed. Party secretary-general Tengku Adnan Mansor was also on hand to oversee their preparation.
By 8.30am, some 2,000 Umno supporters were getting prepared for a short march to the nomination centre.
Umno leaders such as deputy party president Muhyiddin Yassin, vice-president Hishammuddin Hussein, Mohd Shafie Apdal, Wanita chief Shahrizat Abdul Jalil and Youth leader Khairy Jamaluddin were also there.
They performed a short prayer before marching to the nomination centre at about 8.50am.
At the PAS end, about 2,000 of the supporters started gathering at the Kuala Krai junction by about 7am.
And by the time the party held a special prayer session at the Al-Jauhar mosque, the number had swelled to almost 10,000.
These supporters, led by their spiritual leader and Kelantan Menteri Besar Nik Aziz Nik Mat, then started marching towards the nomination centre at about 8.10am.
The SMK Sultan Yahya Petra 1 nomination centre is located about 1.4 kilometres away.
Strong police presence
The other PAS leaders in the crowd include PAS president Abdul Hadi Awang, Husam Musa, Khalid Samad and Hatta Ramli. Pakatan Rakyat leaders like Azmin Ali, Zaid Ibrahim, Khalid Ibrahim and Tan Seng Giaw were also in the crowd. However PAS deputy president Nasharuddin Mat Isa was not in the crowd.
On the way, these PAS supporters shouted slogans like ‘Hidup Islam’ and recited verses from the Quran. Many waved PAS flags.
As the main road leading to the nomination centre has been blocked by the police, the opposing groups of supporters would have to face-off at the road leading to the nomination centre.
By 8.40am, Nik Aziz and several Pakatan leaders have entered the nomination centre with their candidate.
There is a strong police presence at the nomination centre. Traffic in Manek Urai has come to a standstill while enterprising locals have set up stalls everywhere.
The by-election on July 14 will see PAS’ Mohd Fauzi Abdullah, 50, taking on Umno’s Tuan Aziz Tuan Mat, 39, if their nominations today are not rejected for any reasons by the returning officer.
The by-election on July 14 has been necessitated by the death of former state assemblyman Ismail Yaakob, of PAS, on May 22.
Thousands in Manek Urai for nomination day