Kemaman by-election results signal need for re-evaluation by BN-PH - Analyst

MUKHRIZ MAT HUSIN
04 Dec 2023 09:29am
Sivamurugan stresses the importance of preventing BN supporters from resorting to protest votes, potentially favoring the Opposition. - FILE PIX by Sinar
Sivamurugan stresses the importance of preventing BN supporters from resorting to protest votes, potentially favoring the Opposition. - FILE PIX by Sinar
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SHAH ALAM - The resounding victory of Pas in the Kemaman by-election, securing a significantly higher majority than in the 15th General Election (GE15), has sent a clear message to the Barisan Nasional (BN)-Pakatan Harapan (PH) coalition.

Political analyst believed that the unity government coalition must conduct a thorough self-assessment and reevaluate the impact of their alliance.

With the next general election (GE16) just four years away, they urge BN-PH to make strategic preparations to address the electorate's concerns.

Universiti Sains Malaysia (USM) political sociology lecturer Professor Datuk Dr Sivamurugan Pandian highlights the need to consider the people's needs and perspectives, moving beyond mere candidate selection criteria.

"The significant increase in Pas' majority suggests a shift of support towards the party.

"Investigating the reasons behind this shift is crucial to regain the support of those on the fence.

"Addressing their needs, understanding their aspirations, and valuing their opinions are essential to bring them back into the fold," he told Sinar yesterday.

The Kemaman by-election results saw Pas candidate Datuk Seri Dr Ahmad Samsuri Mokhtar not only retain the seat for the party, but also secure an additional 10,000 votes compared to GE15, bringing his majority to 37,220 votes.

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Samsuri, who is also Terengganu Menteri Besar, garnered 64,998 votes, while BN candidate General (B) Tan Sri Raja Mohamed Affandi Raja Mohamed Noor received 27,778 votes.

Sivamurugan stresses the importance of preventing BN supporters from resorting to protest votes, potentially favoring the Opposition.

"The Unity Government needs to foster a perception of a permanent collaboration, not a temporary alliance, to avoid such protest votes," he said.

He further highlights the need for BN-PH to prioritise the electorate's true desires over party loyalty.

"In the past, voting was largely driven by party allegiance, but this trend is fading.

"Even fielding a candidate of Tan Sri Raja Mohamed Affandi's caliber in the Kemaman by-election couldn't sway the electorate," he added.

The analyst emphasises the need for BN-PH to recognise Kemaman as a Pas stronghold and acknowledge the stature of their opponent.

"Samsuri's standing as a respected figure in Terengganu, coupled with his willingness to sacrifice his legitimacy, contributed significantly to his victory.

"BN should approach future elections with an underdog mentality, focusing on minimising Pas' majority rather than aiming for an outright win," Sivamurugan added.