Malay voters could be 'kingmakers' in KKB by-election

Factors affecting PH-DAP and PN victory in Kuala Kubu Baharu.

17 Apr 2024 11:22am
Malay voters could become kingmakers or the main determining factor in whether PH or PN wins the Kuala Kubu Baharu by-election on May 11. (Small image: Awang Azman (left), Mazlan)
Malay voters could become kingmakers or the main determining factor in whether PH or PN wins the Kuala Kubu Baharu by-election on May 11. (Small image: Awang Azman (left), Mazlan)

SHAH ALAM - Malay voters, constituting 46 per cent of the 40,226 registered voters with the Election Commission (EC), could potentially play the 'kingmaker' role in determining the outcome of the upcoming Kuala Kubu Baharu by-election on May 11.

This scenario is plausible as it's estimated that 46 per cent of the 40,226 eligible voters in the forthcoming by-election are Malay, followed by Chinese (30 per cent), Indians (18 per cent), and others (five per cent).

University Malaya Centre for Democracy and Elections lecturer Associate Professor Dr Awang Azman Awang Pawi noted that while sympathy votes, particularly from non-Malay communities, might favour PH-DAP, it's not a surety that they can retain the seat vacated by the late Lee Kee Hiong.

He said that other factors influencing the victory of either PH-DAP or Perikatan Nasional candidates include voter turnout percentage and the potential for protest votes from Malay voters, especially the youth, amid current political developments.

"PH-DAP may face challenges in defending Kee Hiong's seat since 2013 if voter turnout percentage, especially among non-Malays, is low on polling day.

"I also don't discount the possibility of PN fielding a Malay candidate from either Pas or Bersatu for this by-election since logically, 46 per cent of over 40,000 voters in Kuala Kubu Baharu are Malays," he told Sinar.

These comments came in response to queries about whether Malay voters, particularly the youth, would become kingmakers in deciding the winner between the PH-DAP coalition or PN for the Kuala Kubu Baharu State Assembly seat.

The Kuala Kubu Baharu by-election was triggered by the demise of its incumbent, the late Kee Hiong, 58, due to complications from cancer on March 21.

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As a result, EC Chairman Tan Sri Abdul Ghani Salleh announced that polling day for the Kuala Kubu Bharu by-election was set for May 11, with a 14-day campaign period.

In the previous state election, Kee Hiong defeated PN candidate Henry Teoh Kien Hong with a majority of 4,119 votes.

Awang also deemed the appointment of former Selangor Menteri Besar Datuk Seri Mohamed Azmin Ali as the Kuala Kubu Baharu by-election Election Machinery Director fitting.

He added that the resignation of Kota Raja Umno Division Chief Tengku Datuk Seri Zafrul Tengku Abdul Aziz as Umno Selangor Treasurer wouldn't significantly impact Malay support for the PH-DAP candidate in the upcoming by-election.

However, Awang believed that the arrest of Umno Youth Chief Dr Muhamad Akmal Saleh under the Sedition Act related to the socks containing the word "Allah" and KK Mart issues could have a positive effect as he's seen as a 'hero' advocating the interests and voices of Malay-Muslims in Malaysia.

Meanwhile, Universiti Teknologi Malaysia's Centre for Leadership Academician Associate Professor Dr Mazlan Ali opined that although Malays constitute the largest group of voters in Kuala Kubu Baharu, it isn't an advantage for PN to secure the seat as they still need non-Malay votes.

Mazlan clarified that demographically, PH-DAP candidates have the edge in retaining the seat since the Malay voter population is below 50 per cent, with the majority of Chinese and Indian voters firmly supporting the party representing the Unity Government in Putrajaya and Selangor.

"That's why DAP has successfully retained the Kuala Kubu Baharu state seat for three consecutive terms before this," he said.

Mazlan also dismissed speculations that PH-DAP would nominate a Malay candidate to challenge the PN candidate, likely from the Gerakan party.

"PH has a better chance if they nominate a non-Malay candidate, especially a Chinese candidate, for the upcoming by-election because DAP might encounter difficulties and lose their staunch Chinese voters if they field a Malay candidate.

"I also don't see Umno being able to help DAP attract Malay votes and win the seat in the upcoming by-election, even though the Umno Youth Chief is seen as a hero in the recent issue of socks containing the word Allah," he said.

He added that the results of the Kuala Kubu Baharu by-election are crucial for Prime Minister Datuk Seri Anwar Ibrahim and the Unity Government as they set a benchmark for whether the government's reforms are well-received by the people.