KKB by-election: Tight battle looms as voter opinions fluctuate

This is the first time in 16 years that PH faced a significant challenge in maintaining the momentum of Indian voter support, similar to what BN experienced since 2008.

09 May 2024 11:00am

SHAH ALAM - Despite Pakatan Harapan (PH) being theoretically able to retain the Kuala Kubu Baharu (KKB) state assembly seats, the anticipated majority for their candidate Pang Sock Tao is predicted to decline significantly compared to the 4,119 votes obtained by the late Lee Kee Hiong in the Selangor state elections last year.

Political analyst Dr G. Manimaran said that one of the main reasons for the decline in votes and the majority was the continuous rejection wave from Malay voters, especially the younger generation, towards the PH coalition, as seen in the 15th general election (GE15) and the previous state elections.

Furthermore, he said that this was the first time in 16 years that PH faced a significant challenge in maintaining the momentum of Indian voter support, similar to what Barisan Nasional (BN) experienced since 2008.

He also noted that this election is expected to witness intense and challenging competition in the past two decades between the ruling coalition and the opposition from Perikatan Nasional (PN).

He said that intense competition could be observed in several polling districts including areas like Ladang Nigel Gardener, Bandar Baru KKB, Kampung Air Jernih, Kerling, Jalan Kuala Kali and Batu 30 Hulu Yam due to various factors.

"Indian sentiment in the KKB state assembly constituency is now either 'yes' or 'no'; there are no undecided voters or fence-sitters.

“Moreover, a large number of Indian voters, including supporters of the MIC and PKR, have decided to boycott this election and if they do vote, they will choose PN candidates rather than PH candidates or possibly spoil their votes.

"So, there is no notion of a grey area, especially for Indian voters in this by-election, while the majority of Malay voters, especially young people aged 18 to 35, continue to support PN just like during the previous state elections," he told Sinar Premium.

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However, Manimaran emphasised that Indian voters remained kingmakers in determining which coalition would win this Saturday.

He even predicted that only about 60 per cent of the Indian voters who previously supported PH would continue to support the coalition.

He said that until last Wednesday, it was difficult to determine which candidate would achieve an absolute victory, although the chances favoured the PH candidate with the majority expected to be much smaller than in August last year and during GE14.

"I also do not rule out the possibility that a small portion of DAP supporters will boycott because they are not comfortable with the selection of Pang as the PH candidate," he added.

Manimaran also predicted that polling districts with a majority of Chinese and mixed voters, such as Kampung Baharu Kerling, Kampung Baharu KKB, Lembah Beringin, Kampung Baharu Rasa, Pekan Rasa, Kampung Baharu Batang Kali and Hulu Yam Lama would remain strongholds for PH.

He said that PN was expected to continue to strengthen its control in polling districts with a majority of Malay voters, such as Ampang Pecah, Pertak and Bandar Utama Batang Kali.

Manimaran said that the decline in PH votes is also due to the party machinery forming the Madani government in Putrajaya, including Umno, Parti Amanah Negara (Amanah), and PKR, which are claimed to not fight vigorously.

"Although there is a view that PN is capable of capturing the KKB state assembly seat, I see that PH can still defend this area with a thin majority, possibly less than 500 votes (as of early sentiment this week).

"Although PH has received support from several former Umno leaders, such as former Selangor Menteri Besar Tan Sri Muhammad Muhammad Taib and former Batang Kali assemblyman Datuk Zainal Abidin Sakom, it does not greatly help realise a big victory for the DAP candidate," said Manimaran.

He added that unless the central and state leadership take extraordinary and drastic measures, such as announcing a solution to the issue of estate workers' housing in KKB last Sunday, Indian voter support would decline.

Meanwhile, Manimaran said that the opposition coalition is facing problems as Pas' machinery is seen as providing less support and assistance to PN candidates to capture the KKB seat.