Kajang move to nowhere

25
Mar
2014
Posted by: saltmedia  /   Category: Essays   /   No Comments

By Fui K. Soong | fui.soong@cense.my

The Kajang by-election was fought, for the most part, shrouded in an emotional roller-coaster surrounding MH370. Yet the results of the election have far-reaching implications for the individual parties, rather than signifying a shift on the political ground.

Although a low turnout was expected, the 72 per cent eventual turnout was really dismal; throwing many analysts off the projections on the margins. However, most would agree that the overall core support did not change much.

At GE13, Lee Ban Seng received 39.4 per cent of the support compared to Datuk Paduka Chew Mei Fun’s 40.4 per cent.

The four independent candidates clocked in 1,431 votes at the last GE, which is about the same difference between Barisan Nasional’s (BN) votes (12,747) at GE13 and the 1,385 votes at this by-election (11,362).

The presence, or lack of, independent candidates made no difference. Therefore, if the 40:60 support did not shift, this renders Kajang a non-event.

The low turnout has also masked two major points.

The polls showed a striking lack of interest from PAS members but they were not expected to “boycott” the elections altogether. If as much as 63.4 per cent of the Malays asked said they did not want Datin Seri Dr Wan Azizah Wan Ismail to replace Tan Sri Khalid Ibrahim as menteri besar, does that mean Pakatan Rakyat is truly rife with internal struggles that will hamper their ambitions of capturing Putrajaya? As it is, the revival of Reformasi 2.0 has been another non-starter.

At only 68.9 per cent turnout for the Malays, surely the low turnout can not only be attributed to PAS’s absence but also Umno’s, which means there is also something amiss in the BN camp. BN’s Malay support was previously at 56 per cent and this fell to 50 per cent in the by-election.

Chinese support, averaging 18 per cent in the last election, rose to 25 per cent. This would have been fine in the old days of BN campaigns when MCA was expected to pull in the Chinese votes, Umno the Malays and MIC the Indians. MCA’s campaign message of “Chinese voting for Chinese” confirms this wretched mindset.

More importantly, did it put off pro-BN Malay constituents in Kajang? Considering the little remaining mixed seats BN relies on are dependent on the Malay swing, the statistics from Sunday’s by-election are a cocktail of disaster for the coalition.

Already, Wan Azizah has cleverly exploited this weakness to claim that the Malays and the youth support her and they will not go down the same route as BN and breed more Perkasa wannabes.

But still, she can’t run away from the fact that Malay votes are crucial in the race to Putrajaya, which her party still needs to win over, especially among PAS supporters.

Published: The Malay Mail

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