2023 Recap: Key Highlights from the Six State Elections

29 Dec 2023 05:27pm
Bersatu and Pas logo
Bersatu and Pas logo

SHAH ALAM - Aside from formaing of policies for national interest and putting the people first, politics and politicians have often come under the microscope for entertaining, or at times questionable moments caught on camera. Among the many moments that has become the highlight of 2023 would notably be the six state polls that took place in Selangor, Negeri Sembilan, Penang, Kedah, Kelantan and Terengganu.

Elections have always been the season where the people can get up close and personal with their candidates as they try to woo the constitutents for their votes.

Sinar Daily has listed seven notable moments from the August election campaign, so grab you popcorns and let's have a recap of the major moments that got us feeling something, be it right or wrong!

1. Khaliq Metab as Dr Strange and YBae

Admist the intense election season, Perikatan Nasional's Bertam candidate Khaliq Metab Mohd Ishaq became the talk of the town for his appearance and charisma - the "charm" as described by Internet users.

The 47-year-old was even labelled as 'Malaysian Dr Strange' while referring to a well-known Marvel character Doctor Stephen Strange, acted by Benedict Cumberbatch. He was also called 'YBae', which is a mix of 'Yang Berhormat' and 'bae', a term of endearment short for 'baby' or an acronym for 'before anyone else'.

He took social media platforms by storn, especially TikTok and Twitter. Everytime a video of him pops up on the social media feed, thousands of likes and hundreds of comments would flood including female commentators having an 'awe' moment.

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Khaliq Metab
Khaliq Metab

During the 14th General Election, he was nicknamed 'Mr Handsome' and won the Bertam seat. Despite the looks, Khaliq urged voters to look beyond his good looks and focus on his qualifications and commitment to serving the people.

Unfortunately, looks could not sway the voters this time around to cross their ballots for Dr Strange this time around as he lost to Barisan Nasional candidate Datuk Seri Reezal Merican Naina Merican with majority votes.

2. Dominic Lau x Pas love-hate relationship

Gerakan President Dominic Lau's candidacy for the Bayan Lepas state assembly seat in Penang was allegedly opposed by Bayan Lepas Branch Pas members, who staged a peaceful protest and threatened to boycott the nomination and state election.

Not only that, Lau was prevented from attending a Pas ceramah in Sungai Dua and meeting up with Pas president Tan Sri Abdul Hadi Awang was also asked to leave a PN ceramah in Sungai Dua after showing up without being invited.

Gerakan President Dominic Lau
Gerakan President Dominic Lau

However later on voting day, Lau denied that the Pas' machinery was not present to support his candidacy as he submitted his nomination paper to contest on the state election.

He said in fact, he was welcomed by a few Pas supporters earlier that morning to show their support for his nomination process. Amid all these internal drama, Lau still lost the seat to the PH's incumbent.

3. Ramasamy quits DAP

Penang DAP's senior leader P. Ramasamy announced his resignation from the party just two days before state election.

The three-term Perai assemblyman made the announcement after weeks he was dropped from the candidate list for the Penang state election. He went on to say that the DAP he once knew was not there anymore, he said: "Those who voice out against the government are looked upon as troublemakers and mischief makers".

Former Penang Deputy Chief Minister II P Ramasamy
Former Penang Deputy Chief Minister II P Ramasamy

4. Muda opting out of Unity fold and becoming the 'third force'

Malaysian United Democratic Alliance (Muda) decided to contest solo in the state elections, after waiting for weeks for a reply from the ruling Pakatan Harapan on seat negotiations.

Former president Syed Saddiq Syed Abdul Rahman said, it follows the objective of Muda to compete in three State Legislative Assembly states in the state to give voters an alternative choice in order to ensure checks and balances in the assembly.

"Muda believes that the main objective is to bring new politics and reject old politics," Syed Saddiq was quoted saying during the campaign period.

Many, especially those from PH's component party were not happy, stating that he had "burned bridges" with PH. PH Kampung Tunku assemblyman Lim Yi Wei and Amanah Youth chief Mohd Hasbie Muda criticised Syed Saddiq's decision, with Lim saying Syed Saddiq and Muda have "squandered a lot of goodwill" and that their objectives were "questionable."

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5. Saifuddin x Sanusi REE scandal

Rare-earths became the main issue raised by PH in Kedah, going up against the extremely popular Menteri Besar incumbent Datuk Seri Muhammad Sanusi Md Noor and PN. PH in its election campaigns repeatedly spoke on the minerals’ theft in Kedah under Sanusi's administration.

Home Minister Datuk Seri Saifuddin Nasution Ismail, who in GE15 lost his seat in Kulim-Bandar Baharu, revealed that Sanusi had in fact personally visited the illegal rare earth mine at the Bukit Enggang Forest Reserve. Saifuddin also pointed out that the evidence at the crime scene were all destroyed; alluding of an attempted cover-up by the Sanusi-led aministration.

Sanusi responded saying that he was at the site to gather information about the mineral theft and assess the situation for better investigation. He also claimed that before GE15, Prime Minister Datuk Seri Anwar Ibrahim, who then Opposition Leader, had brought in an Indonesian businessman for the purpose of applying to mine in a REE area in the state.

Home Minister Datuk Seri Saifuddin Nasution (left) and Kedah MB Datuk Seri Muhammad Sanusi (right)
Home Minister Datuk Seri Saifuddin Nasution (left) and Kedah MB Datuk Seri Muhammad Sanusi (right)

6. Ahmad Maslan's never ending 'pantun'

Who is Umno's Ahmad Maslan without his pantun? It's something he brings along everywhere even during campaigs, that has since 2019, gained much popularity. He has even gained a seperate fan base for his pantun and being a "sporting" minister.

His videos usually garners thousands of views who finds his pantun. Among the most famous one during the six state election is the Madani pantun that goes like this:

Nama saya Ahmad,

Nama isteri saya Ani,

Ahmad ringkasannya Mad,

Noraini ringkasannya Ani,

Mad campur Ani jadi Madani.

Ahmad Maslan
Ahmad Maslan

7. Pas and Bersatu making inroads in Selangor

The state election saw PN making inroads in Selangor, despite PH having control of the strongest state in Malaysia. The party won 22 of the 56 seats in the legislature. Political analyst Dr Syaza Shukri weighs in on the outcome here, stating that waves of change keep representatives on their toes, a reminder they work for the people.