Kuala Besut is located in Besut, Trengganu, whilst Pasir Puteh is located in the state of Kelantan. Another local center for commercial activities is Jertih, which is also located nearby and is a border town in the state of Kelantan.
I was driving through the towns to Kuala Lumpur a week ago. I saw the towns have switched from the scenes they used to be in the last 10 years. Along the coastline as you drive up to Kota Bharu there is a new strip of land zoned for tourism. This strip of land known as Tok Bali is clearly developing with waterfront resorts, albeit on a smaller scale.
Pasir Puteh has a small population of 140,000 people, whilst Besut has a smaller number of 133,000 people. They both represent about 7% of the size of the Hulu Langat District in term of demography.
The two towns are also the town that is wholly occupied by the Malay of Kelantan and Trengganu descents.
As the result from the death of Dr A Rahman, Kuala Besut will have a by-election this month on 24 of July to select a new state representative. Current registered voters of Kuala Besut are about 23,000, and the late Dr A Rahman won with majority of more than 2,300 votes in the last general election.
Kuala Besut is famous for island resorts which are found on the Islands of Perhentian, and along its beach front as well. While visiting the Islands that the other day I found out that they have been improved with public facilities which include Police Quarters, a new Mosque, shop lots and food stalls on the smaller Islands, Perhentian Kecil.
Whilst the other island is developed with various well-known resorts including the Coral View. Transport serving the resorts between island is in the form of speed boats operated by the local fishermen under the supervision of the island’s services committee group.
Kuala Besut town has a 7 Eleven shop which you can get local newspaper as early as 7 am in the morning. Boat facilities to the islands open business at 8 am in the morning and the cost of a return ticket to the islands is RM50.
With 130,000 people in Besut area, almost 97% of Malay origin, Kuala Besut town can excel well into the next century as a tourist center. A complete new waterfront shopping area with all modern facilities to cater for tourists and the population would add value to enhance the social and commercial activities for this small town. By doing this new development in the town it will also improve the surrounding areas including Tok Bali.
In my view, Pas’s choice in naming Husam Musa as the director of the election for Kuala Besut stems from his experiences in Tok Bali and the well-being of the population in Pasir Puteh areas, while in the Pas’s State Government. These experiences can give him a headway in his campaign. But then, high expectation of a return winner is on the BN’s candidate. He is young and a professional engineer by profession. He is a better bet for the town to stay relevant as a tourist destination for years to come.