(May 8): Pakatan Rakyat’s (PR) victory at the Permatang Pauh by-election yesterday shows that public momentum to defeat the Barisan Nasional (BN) administration is strong and that a “Malaysian tsunami” will sweep the country in the next general election, a DAP MP said.
DAP Permatang Pauh by-election director Steven Sim said both the Permatang Pauh and Rompin by-election results represented a “clear and loud protest” against BN and its policies, such as the goods and services tax (GST).
“At the beginning of the campaign, I wrote that this is a battle between the old politics of race and the new politics of good governance. The result of Permatang Pauh showed the victory of the latter,” said Sim in a statement.
“Therefore, they are small but unmistakable ripples of a coming Malaysian Tsunami, which will wipe off Barisan Nasional in the 14th general election.”
PKR president Datuk Seri Dr Wan Azizah Wan Ismail won the by-election with 30,316 votes, a majority of 8,841 ballots ahead of BN newcomer Suhaimi Sabudin, who got 21,475 votes.
On Tuesday, BN's Datuk Hasan Arifin won the Rompin by-election by 8,895 votes compared with the 15,114 majority garnered by Tan Sri Jamaluddin Jarjis in the 2013 general election (GE13).
Sim said today that PR managed to maintain “the same sterling performance” of the GE13 in Permatang Pauh, where Datuk Seri Anwar Ibrahim won the seat by a majority of 11,721 votes.
“This means, the momentum for change is still strong despite the regime’s numerous attempts to crush the opposition with the mighty weight of government machinery,” said the Bukit Mertajam MP.
He added that the Permatang Pauh by-election proved that PR as a coalition was still relevant, despite reports of unhappiness between the three parties over PAS’s push for hudud in Kelantan.
The win would not have been possible without cooperation among the parties, said Sim, adding that it showed PR members as well as supporters wanted the pact to stay intact and were willing to work hard to ensure this.
Sim also denied that Chinese voters were returning to BN. He said that in the Chinese majority areas, the general trend indicated PR managed to repeat its 2013 performance of securing more than 80% of the votes, despite a drop of at least 20% in the turnout.
“As such, while BN retained votes from its traditional support base, PR’s younger generation voters could not make it to vote this time.
“Under this condition, to be able to maintain a high performance of above 80% comparable to 2013 is already a success,” he said.
However, he admitted that PR suffered a drop in votes in the Chinese-majority polling district of Sungai Lembu, and blamed it on the low turnout rate there as well as a recent, localised problem that had left voters in the area unhappy with PR.
“Firstly, the turnout rate was again, very low at 77% compared to the 2013 general election at 90%.
“Secondly, a day before balloting, there was an industrial accident in that area and the victim is still in critical condition. The matter was poorly handled by the local representative, causing discontent among the villagers.”
He said that while PR needed to work harder in the area, the drop in votes in Sungai Lembu was a localised problem and not reflective of Permatang Pauh’s Chinese voting trend.
In polling districts where Indian voters were concentrated, such as Taman Tun Hussein Oon, Jalan Sembilang dan Seberang Jaya 2, PR managed to maintain its 2013 performance of between 50-65% votes, said Sim
“Overall, it is safe to say that across the board, result is status quo from the last general election, even proving critics wrong about the so-called PAS members’ boycott of Pakatan Rakyat candidate.
“Result for Pakatan Rakyat in the Permatang Pasir state seat, which is the stronghold of PAS, once again, is comparable to 2013.” – The Malaysian Insider