#Update* Opposition leaders: Seven-week period curveball for both BN and PR

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Last Updated: 12:37pm, Feb 06, 2014

SUBANG JAYA (Feb 6): The seven-week period before the Kajang by-election may act as a curveball for both Pakatan Rakyat and Barisan Nasional (BN), Opposition leaders opined.

At a forum on PKR’s Kajang Move yesterday, Pakatan leaders expressed anxiety over the long campaigning period, but remained cautiously optimistic.

DAP publicity chief Tony Pua said BN will be placing all its ammunition for the by-election, which may prove to be a tough challenge for Pakatan.

“They will be putting all their ammunition to attack Kajang, to convince Kajang to defeat Datuk Seri Anwar Ibrahim because they know if Anwar falls in Kajang, that is the end of de facto head, that is the end of Pakatan as we see it today,” he said at the forum held at a hotel here.

“So I call upon everyone, all of you here, to help spread the message, to help reaffirm the commitment, to help Pakatan win Kajang so as to help us keep us on track to see change happening in the 14th General Election,” he added, addressing the crowd.

The Election Commission (EC) had announced yesterday that the Kajang by-election will be held on March 23, while nomination is set for March 11, with a total of 12 days campaigning period.

The period is longer than usual for many by-elections set previously by the EC.

EC chairman Tan Sri Abdul Aziz Mohd Yusof had said that the EC "was caught by surprise" and needed time to prepare for the by-election.BN’s guns will be trained on Kajang

PAS Research Centre director Dr Dzulkefly Ahmad echoed Pua’s sentiments, saying the Kajang by-election may see the “dirtiest of gutter politics.”

“I have my anxiety and concerns on the way they may be strategising. It may degenerate into vast gutter politics, handing out of goodies and money,” he told fz.com at the sideline of the forum.

“We will see a prolonged wastage of resources. This is the surest way at making most wastage,” he added.

Character assassination can only go on for so long

Although without its challenges, PKR strategy director Rafizi Ramli said the long campaigning period may prove to be a boon for Pakatan.

He believes the EC’s decision to set the by-election seven weeks away is a sign that BN still does not know how to respond to PKR’s Kajang Move.

“They will be hard-pressed to find a suitable candidate, we can see now from the responses,” he told reporters after speaking at the forum.

“There is only so much of character assassination you can pit against Anwar in seven weeks. Unless there is another video that comes out,” he said jokingly.

He also said that the long period may allay the ire among voters at Pakatan for pulling such a move in the first place.

However, he said it may also go awry for Pakatan.

“We are waiting for the initial numbers for Kajang this weekend. I don’t underestimate the backlash that we will receive,” he added.

Trust the people of Kajang

Former Bersih chairman Datuk Ambiga Sreenevasan expressed dissatisfaction with the long campaigning period.

“The EC chairman said it is an unexpected by-election. Since when are by-elections expected?” she said to roaring applause and laughter.

“That already tells me volumes, that they have no real good reason.

“I have no reason to believe that the EC has changed from the last elections and I would ask the people of Kajang to be vigilant and keep an eye on your by-election,” she added.

However, she said Pakatan can trust the people of Kajang to make a wise decision.

“If they throw everything at you in the next 55 days, the people of Kajang will know what to do. They have already done it once, they have already made that choice once,” she said.

“Have trust in the people of Kajang. I do,” she added.

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