Chinese Malaysian voters in a key by-election are being wooed by the nation's Islamist party, as it seeks to cash in on discontent at the pro-Malay policies of the governing Umno party. At dozens of rallies for the Kuala Terengganu by-election, the Islamist candidate has been supported by Chinese leaders of parties now allied to Parti Islam se-Malaysia (PAS) under the banner of opposition leader Anwar Ibrahim's Pakatan Rakyat coalition. They have put up posters reminding voters of recent arrests of Chinese lawmakers under tough security laws and statements by leaders of the United Malays National Organisation seeking the closure of Chinese schools and describing them as 'immigrants'. Liew Chin Tong, a member of parliament aligned to the opposition, noted the big Chinese turnout at rallies for the PAS candidate, lawyer Abdul Wahid Endut, and donations given to opposition speakers. 'All this shows PAS is winning the hearts and minds of the Chinese voters,' Mr Liew said. However, the support is a little grudging among some Chinese voters who could once be relied upon to support Umno. 'We don't love the PAS party nor are we too happy with rising Islam, but our anger against discrimination by Umno is stronger,' said voter Lim Gan Peng, 59, a retired Chinese teacher. 'PAS respects our culture, defends Chinese vernacular education and tries to treat all races as equal.' Chinese voters make up only about 11 per cent of the electorate, but with Malay voters evenly split between the government and opposition, the Chinese are once again in the position of kingmakers. Saturday's by-election is seen as a barometer of public support for both Umno and PAS. It is also a major test of voter acceptance of Najib Razak, who takes over as prime minister in March from Abdullah Badawi. However, not all Chinese voters are rooting for PAS. 'Younger Chinese who work outside the state and have been exposed to opposition views are the ones supporting PAS,' said William Lim, a retired shopkeeper, who said he believed the older generation and the business community were still with the government. 'We want peace, stability and continuity.' 'The government is fair, moderate and never extremist,' said Foo Chih Wan, head of the state's Chinese Assembly Hall. Ong Tee Keat, president of the Malaysian Chinese Association, warned voters not to be won over by PAS. 'They would subject non- Muslims to sharia laws. They would throw away the secular constitution, and our free and liberal way of life would come to an end.'