Multiple polls, sacking of party members raise political temperature throughout 2023

17 Dec 2023 05:00pm
Pix for illustration purpose only. - FILE PIX
Pix for illustration purpose only. - FILE PIX

KUALA LUMPUR - The six state elections and six by-elections are among the key highlights of the country’s political scene this year.

The August 12 state elections witnessed the Pakatan Harapan-Barisan Nasional (PH-BN) coalition dominating Negeri Sembilan, Penang and Selangor while Perikatan Nasional (PN) maintained the status quo in Kedah, Kelantan, and Terengganu.

The six state governments decided not to hold their elections concurrently with the 15th General Election (GE15), held end of last year.

Also heating the country’s political scene were the six by-elections involving the Kuala Terengganu parliamentary constituency held after the Election Court nullified the victory of the GE15 candidate, the Pulai parliamentary seat, Simpang Jeram, Pelangai and Jepak state seats vacated by the incumbents.

PN candidate Datuk Ahmad Amzad Mohamed@Hashim of Pas retained the Kuala Terengganu parliamentary seat in the by-election conducted simultaneously with the six by-elections. Terengganu Menteri Besar Datuk Seri Dr Ahmad Samsuri Mokhtar won the Kemaman parliamentary seat in the by-election on Dec 2.

The Pulai parliamentary seat and Simpang Jeram state seat remain under the control of PH after the simultaneous Sept 9 polls when its candidates, Suhaizan Kayat and Nazri Abdul Rahman of Parti Amanah Negara (Amanah) won the respective seats, continuing the legacy left by the late Datuk Seri Salahuddin Ayub.

The Pelangai state polls were held on Oct 7 following the death of the incumbent Datuk Johari Harun in a plane crash in Bandar Elmina, Shah Alam in August. Datuk Amizar Abu Adam retained the constituency, a BN’s stronghold since 1986.

In Sarawak, Gabungan Parti Sarawak (GPS) candidate Iskandar Turkee defended the Jepak seat in the state polls held on Nov 4 following the death of Datuk Talib Zulpilip on Sept 15.

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Enlivening the country’s politics this year are several opposition Members of Parliament from Parti Pribumi Bersatu Malaysia (Bersatu) who pledged support for Prime Minister Datuk Seri Anwar Ibrahim and the MADANI government.

Bukit Gantang MP Datuk Syed Abu Hussin Hafiz Syed Abdul Fasal was the fifth and most recent MP from the Opposition bloc to have declared their support after Zahari Kechik (Jeli), Mohd Azizi Abu Naim (Gua Musang), Datuk Iskandar Dzulkarnain Abdul Khalid (Kuala Kangsar) and Datuk Dr Suhaili Abdul Rahman (Labuan).

This year we also witnessed the elections of major political parties, including Umno, Pas and MCA. There were also expulsions and suspensions of top politicians and the formation of a new party.

Datuk Seri Dr Ahmad Zahid Hamidi and Datuk Seri Mohamad Hasan retain Umno’s top two positions for another term following the Registrar of Societies (RoS) approval for a no-contest motion for the positions presented at the 2022 Umno General Assembly.

The party elections that took place on March 18 also saw the vice president posts filled by two new faces, namely Pahang Menteri Besar Datuk Seri Wan Rosdy Wan Ismail and Titiwangsa MP Datuk Johari Abdul Ghani, in addition to Datuk Seri Mohamed Khaled Nordin.

Former Prime Minister Datuk Seri Ismail Sabri Yaakob did not contest to defend the vice president post that he held since 2018.

In February, the Umno camp sizzled with the sacking of its former Youth Chief Khairy Jamaluddin and the party’s veteran, who was also Umno Supreme Council member Tan Sri Noh Omar, for breaching the Umno Constitution in GE15.

Umno also terminated five members from the Pasir Gudang Division, nine from the Putrajaya Division and two from the Tanjung Karang Division, as well as 26 Pahang party members.

Meanwhile, Sembrong Division Chief Datuk Seri Hishammuddin Hussein, its Youth Deputy Chief Shahril Sufian Hamdan, Tebrau Division Chief Datuk Maulizan Bujang and Jempol Division Chief Datuk Seri Mohd Salim Mohd Sharif were suspended for six years.

On the other hand, the 69th Pas Muktamar on Oct 22 saw the top five party leaders win uncontested to continue leading the party until 2025. This allows Marang MP Tan Sri Abdul Hadi Awang, first elected Pas President in 2003, to continue leading the party.

Other than him, Datuk Seri Tuan Ibrahim Tuan Man also maintains his deputy presidency and the party’s vice presidents, namely Datuk Idris Ahmad, Datuk Mohd Amar Nik Abdullah, and Datuk Seri Ahmad Samsuri Mokhtar.

In the MCA camp, Datuk Seri Dr Wee Ka Siong was re-elected as its president during the party polls in September, which also saw Datuk Dr Mah Hang Soon retaining its deputy president post, while MIC passed a resolution at its 77th Annual General Assembly on Nov 18 confirming that the party’s presidency and vice presidency will not be open for contest in the party polls next year.

Meanwhile, Bersatu president Tan Sri Muhyiddin Yassin announced at the party’s 6th Annual General Meeting in November that he will defend his presidency in the next party polls.

PKR and DAP registered no changes in leadership this year following the party elections last year, while Amanah will hold its polls on Dec 23 and Dec 24.

In the meantime, former Penang Chief Minister P Ramasamy announced the formation of a new party, Parti Bersepakat Hak Rakyat Malaysia (Urimai) in November, two months after the Perai assemblyman resigned from DAP.

The Land Below the Wind, Sabah also had its share of political turmoil when Sabah BN chairman Datuk Seri Bung Mokhtar Radin withdrew its support for Sabah Chief Minister Datuk Seri Hajiji Noor in January.

The upheaval did not last long, and Hajiji continued to lead the state government. He then reshuffled the Sabah Cabinet by appointing assemblymen from Gabungan Rakyat Sabah (GRS), BN and PH.

On the contrary, the Sarawak political scene has been described as calm. Ahmad Zahid, while speaking at the Nigiling Bidai ceremony of Gawai Dayak Day (closing ceremony) hosted by Parti Rakyat Sarawak (PRS) in Sri Aman in July, said the political stability in the state under Sarawak Premier Tan Sri Abang Johari Tun Openg should be emulated.

Former Prime Minister Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad also caught the attention of the media fraternity when he was appointed as the unofficial adviser to PN-held states, namely Kedah, Terengganu, Kelantan, and Perlis. His role involves providing advice on effective governance and efficient management. - BERNAMA