Johor’s royal town of Muar has been a hive of activity with an influx of visitors, especially with the Simpang Jeram by-election underway, and recently concluded school holidays.

For example, there has been an increase in traffic since Aug 26, which is a day after the start of the school holidays and three days before nomination day, which saw political party leaders coming to Muar, and the mobilisation of party machinery into the historic town.

Based on a survey of booking websites, many hotels and homestays around Muar town, which was named ASEAN’s cleanest city and is situated about 200 kilometres from Johor Bahru, is nearly full.

Through Facebook accounts of a group of Muar residents, one will definitely see visitors referring to themselves as ‘election tourists’, asking where to find the best ‘asam pedas’ in Muar, or suitable hotels in strategic locations.

“In the past few weeks, nearly 70 per cent of those staying at our hotels are working guests or extended families, who come from places like Kuala Lumpur, with a booking rate of over 80 per cent,” said Ng Hui Hui, manager at Wood Boutique Hotel Muar.

With only a few days left of the campaigning period, coupled with the organisation of mega ceramah (talks) by political parties, Muar continues to be the focus of election tourists in the state, as well as media practitioners from the capital.

Satay Warisan owner, Zainah Hussein, said that there has been an increase in the number of customers over the past few weeks, and because of that, she has taken various measures to ensure that her customers do not have to wait too long to be served a meal.

She said with the tradition in Muar of eating satay for breakfast, about 3,000 sticks of satay, such as beef, chicken and tripe, are prepared everyday to meet customer demand.

Meanwhile, an Asam Pedas Kakyah employee who only wanted to be known as Eddy, said for the past few weeks, many outstation customers have been flocking to the outlet. These are political party campaign workers, who want to sample the delicious local fare there.

The Pulai and Simpang Jeram by-elections have been called due to the unexpected vacancy of the seats following the death of the incumbent, Datuk Seri Salahuddin Ayub, who was also the Minister of Domestic Trade and Cost of Living, on July 23.

Both seats will see a three-way contest, involving Perikatan Nasional (PN), Pakatan Harapan (PH)- Barisan Nasional (BN) and independent candidates.

For the Simpang Jeram seat, PH candidate Nazri Abdul Rahman faces off against PAS Central Committee member, Dr Mohd Mazri Yahya from PN, and independent candidate, businessman S. Jeganathan.

Source: BERNAMA News Agency