PD voter files for review of Danyal’s resignation, seeks to stop by-election


PD voter files for review of Danyal’s resignation, seeks to stop by-election

by Hafiz Yatim@www.malaysiakini.com

A Port Dickson voter filed a judicial review application at the Kuala Lumpur High Court yesterday to challenge the decision by his constituency’s outgoing MP Danyal Balagopal Abdullah (photo) to vacate the seat, as well as the calling of a by-election in the constituency next month.

Rosmadi Mohd Kassim, 56, named Danyal and the Election Commission (EC) as respondents in the application filed by law firm Raja Riza and Associates.

Rosmadi, who is a registered voter in Port Dickson, asked leave of the High Court to declare Danyal’s resignation invalid and therefore null and void. He also requested leave for a certiorari to quash the EC’s notice dated Sept 20 to hold the by-election.

Rosmadi is seeking a declaration that the EC’s decision to announce that the seat is vacant is wrong by law, as well as an injunction to stop the commission from holding the by-election on October 13. The hearing for leave has been fixed on October 2.

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In his application, Rosmadi said he had lodged a police report on September 24 regarding Danyal’s resignation. He then filed the judicial review application on the grounds that Danyal had violated the oath he took as an MP on July 16, when on September 12, the incumbent stated his reason for resignation as paving the way for incoming PKR president Anwar Ibrahim.

This, Rosmadi said, showed that Danyal favoured his loyalty to Anwar over Malaysians and a betrayal of Port Dickson voters’ trust, as the former navy man was not a bankrupt or physically incapacitated from doing his job as an MP.

The voter added that Danyal’s election promises had resulted in him winning the seat with a 17,710 majority against the PAS and BN candidate.

“Danyal’s resignation is not bona fide and against the provision of the Federal Constitution, as it is politically motivated and against public policy,” he said in the application.

“Article 51 of the Federal Constitution gives an MP the opportunity to relinquish his post, but it should be balanced by public interests,” he said, adding that such resignation should not be a political strategy, as it would destroy the democratic institution.

Rosmadi said that if Danyal is not interested to be a candidate then he should not have contested in the last general election.

He also alleged that the EC violated the statutory duty of its formation, as it should determine if the MP’s resignation is constitutional or not, before declaring the seat vacant and calling for a by-election. Rosmadi claimed EC failed to investigate whether Danyal’s resignation is in line with the constitutional provisions and is valid. Hence, he further alleged, Danyal’s resignation to pave the way for Anwar to be an MP and then be the PM is wrong in law and that the EC acted ultra vires to declare the vacancy and call for the by-election.

“Hence there is a prima facie case, for this judicial review application, as it is not an abuse of the court process,” said theapplicant, adding that if the injunction and his application is allowed, it would save huge costs in running a by-election.

Anwar as Port Dickson MP


September 20, 2018

 Anwar  as Port Dickson MP

Opinion  |

COMMENT | If Anwar Ibrahim does make the cut, invariably, as the Member of Parliament of Port Dickson, perhaps something akin to a healthy rivalry with Langkawi island MP Dr Mahathir Mohammad will be immediately triggered.

Key government events should be held in Langkawi, either to brainstorm on the revival of Malaysia, or, the various ministries. Such events are bound to catch on in Port Dickson, too, which is just a short distance away from Putrajaya.

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Indeed, high-end hotels, over the last 15 years, have also sprung up on Langkawi island (pic above), including the globally renowned Four Seasons. From time to time, it is not rare to see Indian families touring in huge numbers in Langkawi, too, often booking all their suites and rooms at one go.

Although Langkawi has also catered to the tourists of Scandinavia and Germany, who can often be seen basking in the sun, no discernible (foreign) presence has been seen at Port Dickson’s beaches as yet.

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Port Dickson Chalets

This is where Port Dickson has to stand out. Making its seas and shorelines pristine would make Port Dickson an ideal destination for families and international group tours beyond what has generally been provided to Malaysians.

If Anwar Ibrahim does somehow attract more Chinese to the beach town, the facilities in Port Dickson would have to be significantly scaled up – without which, the residents of Port Dickson would be looking at immense traffic bottlenecks and congestion.

Such negative externalities of tourism cannot be ruled completely. Polluted air, crowded bazaars, shortage of proper food and medical facilities, too, can all be a turn off to well-heeled Malaysian tourists.

In fact, without an iconic landmark, Port Dickson would be at a disadvantage, compared to Langkawi island. Langkawi, for example, hosts one of the longest cable cars in Southeast Asia that allows thousands of tourists to enjoy a bird’s eye view of the whole island.

Port Dickson, being flatter, is only known for its small-town feel and delicious local food. Perhaps a high tower should be built that would permit Port Dickson visitors to peer into the Straits of Malacca, and the thousands of ships that pass through it. It would seem that such a service should be introduced, in order to allow Malaysians to take a peek into what goes on in one of the busiest straits in the world.

The depths of the quays in Port Dickson should be constantly dredged and deepened, to allow bigger ships and vessels to berth, ideally ships that can ferry passengers across to Sumatera, Indonesia, which is just across the shores of Malaysia.

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To be sure, friendly ecological themes have to be worked into the grand schemes for all arrangements. Otherwise, a tourism scheme that is merely heavy on sheer human traffic alone is bound to create many side effects, beyond overcrowding, noise pollution, and inadequate waste disposal.

Either way, it is first time in the history of Malaysia that a reigning Prime Minister is an MP of a touristy constituency, indeed a tax-free zone to boot, which is Langkawi island. Should Anwar win the Port Dickson seat, the eighth prime minister of Malaysia would have to transform Port Dickson into a major township.

Port Klang was previously known as Port Swettenham, in recognition of the tenure of Resident Frank Swettenham in the 19th century. Over the years, Port Klang has morphed into a seafood attraction and high-density port.

No one knows if Port Dickson can become the hub of “bunkering,” a business that caters to refueling the ships and vessels that traverse through the Straits of Malacca.

If it does, this is an economic sector that is worth no less than US$1 billion a year. At least that is the current size of the bunkering business in Singapore, an idea that was ironically coined by Dr Mahathir previously.

It would help if Anwar Ibrahim could come up with such an industry-relevant solution, beyond merely looking to boost tourist numbers in Port Dickson.


PHAR KIM BENG was a multiple award-winning Head Teaching Fellow on China and Cultural Revolution in Harvard University.

The views expressed here are those of the author/contributor and do not necessarily represent the views of Malaysiakini.

After the Kajang MOVE– Sham Democracy in Port Dickson


September 12, 2018

 

After the Kajang MOVE– Sham Democracy in Port Dickson

by Dr. Kua Kia Soong

wwwfreemalaysiatoday.com

Image result for Anwar Ibrahim and Turkey's Erdogan

The Man in a hurry to be like Turkey’s Erdogan to promote his own brand of Fundamentalist Islam which is a blend of Erdoganism and Khomeinism. Voters of Port Dickson Beware

After the frivolous “Kajang Move”, it is a wonder that our thick-skinned politicians in Pakatan Harapan (PH) still want to test the patience of Malaysian voters by forcing another by-election to allow Anwar Ibrahim to become a member of Parliament.

Why should a recently elected MP resign for yet another asinine by-election? One would think that if Anwar is in such a hurry to get into Parliament, the most suitable seat for him to stand in would be that of our 93-year-old Prime Minister who has already said that he has only one mission in “saving Malaysia”: to get rid of the former prime minister Najib Razak. That mission is now accomplished, and surely his seat would be the most suitable to vacate for Anwar. At his age and from what he has done since GE-14, he does not seem to have any new ideas to turn the country around and institute proper reforms.

This does not have to be executed immediately but it can be arranged in the next few months for the transition Prime minister to prepare for the changeover. That way, it will not provoke the irritation of voters who will be more understanding of the elderly politician bowing out from the national stage.

Thinking outside the box

Politicians, when it fits their agenda, do have the capacity to think outside the box. In January this year, PH Wanita chief Zuraida Kamaruddin, who is also a minister, proposed having Mohamed Azmin Ali and Mukhriz Mahathir as candidates for Prime Minister and Deputy Prime Minister, and argued that such a move could introduce a “refreshing” take on the country’s politics, and attract young voters.

This was indeed a bold and fresh opinion from a leader in Anwar’s own party. If that were the case, PKR would not even have to put taxpayers through the ordeal of another forced by-election in order to allow Anwar onto the political stage. He could then bide his time until the next election. Doesn’t Anwar have enough on his hands in forging meaningful unity within his own party, given the almost daily mudslinging we witness between the two PKR leadership factions?

Elderly politicians should know when to get off the stage

“If you don’t know when to get off the stage, then you know you have stayed too long…”

This piece of show business advice should be learnt by our elderly politicians. It is almost comical to see our elderly politicians still trying to justify their “right” to stand for election even while they clamour for “change” in the political order. They even cite political conspiracies by their opponents to justify hogging their electoral seats. Some have been in Parliament since the era of the Tunku – half a century ago! During that time, UMNO (surely not the paragon of democracy) has changed party leaders five times!

It is no coincidence that too many political leaders exert tight control over their own parties with prospective candidates in the party beholden to them. Such leaders also hog the federal as well as state seats using the justification that they are indispensable. The late Karpal Singh was a stern opponent of this grabby practice by established party leaders in hogging federal as well as state seats. His famous line when a former DAP stalwart left the party in 1990 was: “No one is indispensable.” That surely applies to everyone in the world, or do some people believe they are exempt from this truism?

In other democratic countries, we see responsible and honourable politicians resigning at the slightest failure of judgment on their part or when their term has reached a convenient point for some other younger leader to take over the party. The democratic justification for this term limit is simply that elected officials can over time obtain too much power or authority, making them less representative of all citizens. The democratic principle behind term limits is that no one person should have too much power or for too long. Thus, the concept of term limits minimises the amount of power any one person can gain over a period of time.

Preventing chances of corruption

As we saw only recently, even within the two-term service, corporate interests including those in property and finance can provide inducements to the incumbent chief minister, especially when they have developed familiar relations over time. There is clearly a correlation between the length of time a politician serves and the degree to which he/she has opportunities to engage in corruption. The principle of term limits has always been applied to the civil service, which is why civil servants and police personnel are transferred every so often to prevent the acquisition of power and inducements to corruption in any one post.

Term limits would make this less likely since there is less time that a politician can be influenced by the power of the office that they hold. Corporate interests cannot become as entrenched when term limits are in place. With term limitations, corporate influence still happens, but not to the extent that it can reach when such interests develop unhealthy relationships with career politicians who are in office for a long time.

Preventing careerism

In a democracy, elected representatives are supposed to represent the interests of the citizens. As most politicians will tell us when they are interviewed, especially before elections, their work is supposed to be a service to society as a whole. Being a member of Parliament or state representative is not a profession even though it has become a career for many people. In fact, elected officials should operate on the understanding that they are only serving the people for a period of time until it is someone else’s turn. Term limits ensure that representatives focus more on representing the public than on hogging the office and power.

Providing leadership opportunities for others

Democracy and organisational development are about providing opportunities to as many people as possible, especially empowering the young, women, indigenous people and the marginalised. In our society, there are so many individuals with untapped potential for leadership, as if that is not clear for all to see. In recent years, we have seen the surge of many young capable leaders in politics, including women from various ethnic origins.

Isn’t it amazing that after 61 years of independence, we still have elderly politicians who have been MPs since the Tunku’s era and refuse to let other young leaders have a go at the electoral merry-go-round?

The ancient sage Laozi could appreciate what true leadership is: “A leader is best when people barely know he exists, when his work is done, his aim fulfilled, they will say: we did it ourselves.”

Kua Kia Soong is adviser to Suaram.

The views expressed are those of the writer and do not necessarily reflect those of FMT.

PKR executes ‘PD Move’ to pave way for Anwar’s return

by Zikri Kamarulzaman  |  Published:  | 

The Port Dickson parliamentary seat has been vacated to pave the way for a by-election to be contested by PKR president-elect Anwar Ibrahim.

Incumbent MP Danyal Balagopal Abdullah announced his intention to vacate the seat at a press conference in Petaling Jaya today.

During the May 9 elections, Danyal secured the Port Dickson seat by securing 59 percent of the total votes cast.

“I feel called to contribute to a smooth transition of the office of the seventh prime minister (Dr Mahathir Mohamad) to the eight prime minister (Anwar) in accordance to the agreement between Pakatan Harapan coalition members.

“Last night I was informed by Rafizi Ramli that after having discussed with the party leadership, Anwar had decided on accept my offer and choose Port Dickson as the constituency where he would like to stand as a candidate.

“I am confident Anwar will win the seat hands down and proceed to become the next Port Dickson MP and InsyaAllah, eventually become our nation’s eighth prime minister,” Danyal (below, right) said at the PKR headquarters.

The outgoing Port Dickson MP also said he would still serve the constituency as Anwar’s “eyes and ears”.

He also said that with Anwar as MP, he could do more for the people of Port Dickson who were “elated that the prime minister-in-waiting was coming to their area.”

 

 

PKR Secretary-General Saifuddin Nasution said there was no inducement for Danyal to vacate the seat.

Rafizi, who was also present at the press conference, denied that engineering a by-election was a betrayal of voters. This is because having Anwar in Parliament only further strengthened the people’s mandate by helping to enact national-level reforms, he said.

PKR stronghold

Saifuddin reiterated Anwar’s stance that he (Anwar) would not be seeking any government posts and would fully support the Mahathir administration.

No timeline has also been put in place for the transfer of power from Mahathir to Anwar. Saifuddin also said that DAP secretary-general Lim Guan Eng, Bersatu president Muhyiddin Yassin and Amanah President Mohamad Sabu had been informed of PKR’s plans and have pledged to help campaign for Anwar.

Meanwhile, on a question whether those aligned with incumbent PKR Deputy President Azmin Ali was left out of the seat talks, Saifuddin said there is only “team Anwar”.

“When people offer up their seats we don’t ask which camp you’re from,” he said.

Incumbent PKR Vice-President Dr Xavier Jeyakumar, who is aligned to Azmin, was present at the press conference

PKR has had a hold on Port Dickson, or Teluk Kemang as it was known prior to GE14, since 2008.

 

Cautions from Sungai Kandis


August 6, 2018

Cautions from Sungai Kandis

by Dr. Bridget Welsh@www.malaysiakini.com

“…the dominance of race and religion in the national narrative and within Harapan itself will curtail the capacity and needed alliances to implement reforms and govern effectively. It also has the potential to stymie the Harapan government further as it is pushed into an even more defensive mode.”–Dr. Bridget Welsh

COMMENT | Pakatan Harapan won its first by-election since taking over the government in Sungai Kandis.

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PKR candidate Ustaz Mohd Zawawi Ahmad Mughni defeated (former premier) Najib (Abdul Razak’s) loyalist and UMNO supreme council member Lokman Noor Adam. Harapan won with a comfortable majority of 5,830 votes for the incumbent PKR in a straight fight against the biggest loser in the 14th general election – UMNO, although there was a drop of 35.5 percent in turnout in the contest, from 49.4 percent from 85 percent.

This victory and the lower turnout was expected, but the campaign and results suggest that there are political developments evolving that do not bode well for greater political reform and more inclusive‘New Malaysia’.

Return to race

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First of all, the by-election campaign was dominated by a racialized UMNO narrative. The gamut of issues ranged from supposed Christian dominance and Communist conspiracies to alleged attacks on Malay institutions and the community at large.

None of these issues was fundamentally new, as they have long been part of the defensive approach that UMNO introduced after it scraped through in the 2013 elections. These right-wing attacks combine identity politics with paranoia and feed off the insecurities and fear of displacement that has long been stoked to keep UMNO in power.

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Najib took defensive racialized politics to a new level.

Out of his own security, Najib took defensive racialized politics to a new level. This election shows that UMNO will continue to use these tactics – often based on outright lies and distortions and bordering on hate speech – in an attempt to win back power.

Since taking power Harapan has yet to adequately provide an alternative narrative to UMNO’s racialized rhetoric. In GE-14, racialized campaigns were neutralized by Dr. Mahathir Mohamad’s leadership of the coalition.

Post-GE14, however, Harapan has adopted its own defensive mode, one in which it sends messages of uncertainty in promoting multi-ethnic inclusiveness, moving politics toward a more national rather than sectarian approach and embracing more positive messages that reflect the confidence and diversity of views in the Malay community as a whole.

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Harapan’s wariness in handling issues involving Malay representation and institutions has fed the sense that it is insecure in this area. There has been no meaningful discussion of the mismanagement of MARA and Tabung Haji in the previous government, for example.

UMNO is capitalizing on this fear, and unless a new narrative is introduced, the approach of seeing politics through racialized lens will blind many to other alternative visions.

PAS: Enemy or Friend?

Second, Harapan’s main issue in the campaign was PAS and its supposed alliance with UMNO. DAP, in particular, is not able to let go with its anger toward PAS and its President Abdul Hadi Awang. PAS opted not to contest in the by-election because it could not win. The Islamic party is divided on whether it will form an alliance with UMNO, either a strategic “no-contest” pact or something more substantive.

It is UMNO that is pushing the hardest in the alliance drive, as they would like the contestation in the Malay community to move from two-fronts to one-front (against Harapan). UMNO is driven to address the most damaging effect on UMNO in GE14, its loss of support within the Malay community itself and loss of its legitimacy to claim is represents the Malay community as a whole.

Sungai Kandis showed that UMNO machinery in Selangor remains weak and even at the height of supposed sympathy towards the party after its defeat, it could not rally enough support to win a by-election. It is now more dependent on PAS support than before.

There are ongoing assessments of what the electoral impact of a partnership among opposition Malay political parties will be. PAS won the most support in GE-14 from defections from UMNO.

As such, it is in UMNO’s interest to stop the erosion. PAS is divided within, as some see a close relationship as leading to more erosion and others see this as backfiring among its supporters who came to PAS because it was seen as different than UMNO. The by-election served to bring the issue to the fore, and this trend is likely to continue through the PAS muktamar in September and upcoming by-elections.

PAS will have its own test in the Seri Setia by-election, which so far UMNO has indicated it will sit out.

Sungai Kandis showed irrespective, that in a straight-fight against Harapan, UMNO was not able to win in a multi-ethnic constituency (29 percent of the constituency was non-Malay). The choice to ally with each other will likely serve to alienate non-Malays further and assure that neither PAS nor UMNO will govern in Selangor or nationally.

Malay opposition parties have yet to recognize that contemporary Malays are diverse and that in today’s era of coalition politics no one party will capture the majority of the Malay vote, especially when it is difficult to differentiate one from the other in their rhetoric.

Many nevertheless, see the alliance of UMNO and PAS positively. It has strong advocates in both UMNO and PAS. These advocates also implicitly include non-Malay parties in Harapan. This outlook is based on the view that non-Malay support will remain with Harapan, given that both UMNO and PAS will likely adopt the racialized narrative prominent in the by-election campaign.

This thinking is narrow, however, and short-sighted, as the dominance of race and religion in the national narrative and within Harapan itself will curtail the capacity and needed alliances to implement reforms and govern effectively. It also has the potential to stymie the Harapan government further as it is pushed into an even more defensive mode.

Politicking and performance

Finally, if there was an issue that seemed to be showcased by Harapan, it was the return to Anwar Ibrahim to the leadership of PKR. The campaign was used as an arena to announce his candidacy for the party presidency in the party election to be held this November and remind the public of his ambition to become prime minister.

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The focus on politicking within Harapan, as opposed to actual governing, serves to portray the image that Harapan is about power, not serving the people. There are concerns that internal party bickering within Harapan (and PKR in particular) and positioning with Harapan is undercutting its ability to deliver to the public.

While acknowledging the proximity of the by-election to GE14, voter fatigue and recognition among many Harapan supporters that their vote would not have affected the result in Harapan-strong Selangor, Harapan should heed the significant drop in voter turnout. Many of its supporters stayed home.

There is no longer the issue of anger against Najib to bring people to the polls. Some even see an appeasement towards Najib and his administration, as there has been a failure to bring those responsible for scandals to justice. Others cannot identify with what the government is doing, or, worse yet, even notice a substantive difference in governance.

Harapan gave little in the way of reasons to vote for it. Harapan lost an opportunity in Sungai Kandis to lay out its accomplishments, programs and agenda, to effectively showcase what it is doing and to imprint its own narrative for ‘New Malaysia’.

This chance was wasted at both the national level and the Selangor government. Instead, it let UMNO, and to a lesser extent, narrow political interests and caution within Harapan, set the course.


 

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DR. BRIDGET WELSH is an associate professor of political science at John Cabot University in Rome. She also continues to be a senior associate research fellow at the National Taiwan University’s Center for East Asia Democratic Studies and The Habibie Center, as well as a university fellow of Charles Darwin University. Her latest book (with co-author Greg Lopez) is titled Regime Resilience in Malaysia and Singapore. She can be reached at bridgetwelsh1@gmail.com.

The views expressed here are those of the author/contributor and do not necessarily represent the views of Malaysiakini.

 

‘We have lost a great son of Sarawak’


January 11, 2017

‘We have lost a great son of Sarawak’

Netizens, including politicians, speak highly of the Sarawak chief minister who died at 1.20pm today.

Image result for tan sri adenan satem

By popular acclaim, the late Chief Minister of Sarawak, Tan Sri Adenan Satem, was a strong leader who stood up for the rights of all Sarawakians. He will be sorely missed. Dr. Kamsiah Haider  and I wish to express our heartfelt condolences to his bereaved family.

His passing will no doubt have decisive impact on the politics of this fiercely nationalistic state. My inclination on this sad day is to dedicate Al-Fatihah to the Late Tan Sri and pray (doa) that there will be a smooth transfer of power. I also hope that Sarawak will have a successor Chief Minister who will be strong enough like Tun Taib Mahmud and Tan Sri Adenan to resist any move by UMNO to establish  a branch in Sarawak.–Din Merican

Tributes have begun pouring in from netizens, including politicians, following the news that Sarawak Chief Minister Adenan Satem passed away at 1.20pm today.

Many Twitter users spoke highly of the PBB President. Sarawak United Peoples Party (SUPP) president and local government minister Sim Kui Hian said: “We have lost a great son of Sarawak who devoted his whole life to the rakyat.”

Political leaders from the Barisan Nasional poured out their grief on Twitter with Prime Minister Najib Razak revealing that he would be heading to Sarawak.

MCA president Liow Tiong Lai echoed similar sentiments saying: “Malaysia lost a great leader today.”

Deputy Education Minister P Kamalanathan tweeted: “Greatly shocked. Great loss to all #Malaysians. My sincere condolences to the family and the people of Sarawak.”

Youth and Sports Minister Khairy Jamaluddin expressed condolences to Adenan’s wife Jamilah, family and Sarawakians. Sabah lawmaker Rahman Dahlan said Adenan’s struggles for a better Sarawak would be continued.

“Our sincere condolences to the family members of CM Adenan & the people of Sarawak. His struggles for a better Sarawak will be carried on.”

The public, too, have been taking to Twitter to express their condolences over Adenan’s passing. One user with the Twitter handle Ahmad Tarmidzi described Adenan as a true Sarawakian fighter.

“He fought for us, Sarawakians,” he tweeted, adding that he prayed the senior politician would be placed with the pious.

Another user Miz_PhinzSJ said it was a sad day for Sarawak because the state had “lost a good leader”. Meanwhile, Twitter user syazwan said Adenan was his own man.“I actually like Adenan Satem. He is more his own man than I thought he would be as CM. Great loss.”

PKR Lily Wan Azizah wins Permatang Pauh but with reduced majority


May 8, 2015

Phnom Penh by The Mekong

PKR Lily Wan Azizah wins Permatang Pauh but with reduced majority

by Sheridan Mahavera and Looi Sue-Chern

wan azizah 1

With a smaller voter turnout, Parti Keadilan Rakyat (PKR) had its absolute majority slashed by more than 3,000 votes in Permatang Pauh yesterday, but analysts dissecting the by-election said Barisan Nasional (BN) was still the bigger loser.

There are also warnings for both sides, as BN’s losses came from among Malay votes, while Pakatan Rakyat (PR)Dr Wong Chin Huat appeared to concede some Chinese votes to BN. BN’s failure to get more votes in Permatang Pauh, especially from Malay areas, mirrored the cold shoulder it got from the largely Malay seat of Rompin in the by-election there three days ago, said political analyst Dr Wong Chin Huat (right). Although BN was the incumbent in Rompin, its support level went down by 5% from 2013 levels.

BN failed to take advantage of the infighting between PKR and ally PAS, and despite a strident machinery, did not manage to erode support for PKR’s Datuk Seri Dr Wan Azizah Wan Ismail. She won by a margin of 8,841 votes against BN’s Suhaimi Sabudin.

Given the lower voter turnout, her win translates into 57% of all ballots cast, roughly the same vote share PKR had in the 13th general election. In the national polls two years ago with Datuk Seri Anwar Ibrahim as candidate, it took 58.56% of votes.

In contrast, BN received 40.1% of all votes cast in Permatang Pauh this time, slightly less than the 40.3% it received in 2013.This is despite BN pouring vast amounts of resources into its campaign and the disunity in the PR machinery, which saw some PAS allies threatening to boycott PKR.

“BN campaigned hard and we expected PR to suffer. But they did not increase their votes even with all the PR infighting,” said Wong, of the Penang Institute. Noth BN and PR have internal struggles, the former from attacks against its chairman, who is Prime Minister Datuk Seri Najib Razak, and the opposition from discord over hudud and threats of sabotage by some segments of PAS against PKR in Permatang Pauh.

Yet, even with internal strife in both camps, BN was the weaker of the two, Wong said. It failed in this by-election to capitalise on the chaos and disillusionment with PR to garner more votes.

PKR outpolled Suhaimi in Permatang Pasir and Penanti, constituencies with majority Malay populations of 72% and 76% respectively. Dr Wan Azizah won 63% of the popular votes in Permatang Pasir and 57% of all votes cast in Penanti.She won majorities in 16 out of 19 polling districts in those two constituencies. In at least eight of those districts, she managed to beat Suhaimi by a vote margin of 2 to 1.

Dr Wan Azizah said after the results were made official last night, that Malay votes went up by 4% to 5%, mostly among young voters.“At the end of the day, people may not like the PR but they hate BN more,” said Wong.

Wan Saiful Wan JanTaking a different view was Wan Saiful Wan Jan (left) who said PR had nothing to shout about since it did not increase its vote share even with all the issues plaguing BN, such as the unpopular goods and services tax (GST) and scandals involving government-owned fund 1Malaysia Development Berhad (1MDB).

PR’s infighting prevented it from getting more support from a public disenchanted with BN, Wan Saiful said. (Permatang Pauh) showed that even if people are angry with BN, they are not convinced enough to vote PR. This is why PR really needs to resolve its internal squabbles soon.”

Those squabbles, he argued, were starting to eat into its support base among the Chinese.In Sungai Lembu, a polling district which is 98.7% Chinese, BN managed to increase its support of the popular vote to 30.4% compared with the 16% it garnered in 2013, according to Gerakan Youth chief Tan Keng Liang.

Wong, however, said this did not represent a true swing of the Chinese vote towards BN but more of a reluctance to vote for PR this time. This is based on lower turnout – 75% of Sungai Lembu’s 533 voters came out to vote in the by-election, compared with the 90% in 2013.

Also, there was no swing apparent in Seberang Jaya, a constituency with a 23% Chinese population.“There were ads in a Chinese newspaper that said that ‘both sides are disappointing’, so it could have swayed Chinese voters to stay home and not go out and vote,It is unrealistic to expect Chinese voters to go back to BN, but realistically, they could stay home and not vote.BN does not need the Chinese to vote for it, all it needs is for the Chinese to not vote for PR.” .” said Wong.

Either way, if PR’s internal discord continues and makes voters feel it is no better than BN, it could hurt the opposition pact’s ability to hold on to marginal seats.

http://www.themalaysianinsider.com