Loyalty of BN, PH staunch supporters will determine victory in Pelangai - Experts

05 Oct 2023 09:25pm
Image for illustrative purposes only. - BERNAMA
Image for illustrative purposes only. - BERNAMA

BENTONG - After 13 days of working tirelessly day and night to reach out to all segments of society, the campaign machinery of all competing parties in the Pelangai state by-election have high hopes that their candidates will receive solid support from the constituents come Saturday (Oct 7).

Barisan Nasional (BN) is counting on the party’s loyal voters and the support from non-Malays will undoubtedly add significant value to the vote majority of its candidate Datuk Amizar Abu Adam.

Senior Lecturer of Political Science and Research Fellow at Ilham Centre, Universiti Teknologi Mara (UiTM) Mujibu Abu Muis said Pelangai, which is a BN stronghold will witness the loyalty of the old guards in defending the party from Perikatan Nasional (PN) ‘green wave’ onslaughts.

Saturday’s by-election will determine whether Felda settlers, particularly the first generation who make up the majority of voters in the area, will remain loyal to BN or switch allegiance after possibly being swayed by PN’s campaign that heavily emphasises national issues, especially rice supply.

"So, throughout the campaign, it is crucial for BN with the support of Pakatan Harapan (PH) to try their utmost best to ensure that their loyal supporters remain with the party while making every effort to persuade them to come out and vote,” he told Bernama.

According to data from the Election Commission, the three Felda clusters namely Chemomoi, Sungai Kemahal and Kemasul have a total of 7,983 voters, representing about 48.5 per cent of the total 16,456 voters in Pelangai. Out of 7,983 voters, 3,976 are aged 40 and above.

Meanwhile, Nusantara Academy for Strategic Research (NASR) Senior Fellow Dr Azmi Hassan believes that the non-Malay votes will also play a crucial role in determining the outcome of the Pelangai by-election.

He said during the 15th General Election (GE15), 80 per cent of non-Malay voters threw their support behind the PH candidate.

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"So, during this by-election, we want to see if this group that previously voted for PH will give their support to BN. They are the kingmakers and if they vote for BN, victory will be in the hands of the party this Saturday...the Malay votes have split into two, with one side going to PAS and PN and the other to BN and PH,” he said.

In GE15, Datuk Seri Johari Harun of BN won with a 4,048-vote majority defeating Kasim Samat of PN who garnered 3,260 votes, Ahmed Wafiuddin Shamsuri of PH (2,031 votes) and Isa Ahmad of Pejuang Tanah Air (65 votes).

Universiti Putra Malaysia (UPM) Senior Lecturer of Political Science Dr Nur Ayuni Mohd Isa said the voter turnout in the Pelangai by-election will not be as high as during GE15, which saw a turnout of 78.5 per cent as Pelangai voters living out of state might not want to return home to cast their ballots.

This will give an advantage to BN because most voters who are living in Pelangai are party members and staunch supporters of BN or PH, she said.

However, she noted that with a 75-per per cent Malay voters in the constituency, one cannot deny PN’s chances of winning the by-election.

The Pelangai by-election sees a three-cornered battle between Amizar, Kasim and Independent candidate Haslihelmy DM Zulhashi.

It is being held following the death of the incumbent, Johari who was killed in a plane crash in Shah Alam, Selangor on Aug 17. - BERNAMA