KKB: Did boycotts lead to PN's loss?

According to expert, the PN machinery, especially Pas from Selangor, was seen as less enthusiastic about helping Bersatu to campaign for votes.

Mohd Faizul Haika Mat Khazi
Mohd Faizul Haika Mat Khazi
13 May 2024 10:59am
Photo for illustration purpose only. - Photo by Bernama
Photo for illustration purpose only. - Photo by Bernama

SHAH ALAM - The boycott movements initiated by certain Pas staunch supporters and Umno voters are being identified as the primary factor behind Perikatan Nasional's (PN) inability to sustain its electoral momentum and secure the Kuala Kubu Baharu state seat from Pakatan Harapan (PH).

This scenario resulted in PN managing to secure only two out of the four District Voting Centres (PDM) it previously controlled in the state election last year, specifically Bandar Utama Batang Kali and Ampang Pechah, while PH gained control of Kampung Air Jernih and Pertak.

The overall vote count for the PN coalition, represented by Khairul Azhari Saut, witnessed a decline of 628 votes from the previous state election, dropping from 10,743 votes to 10,115 in this by-election.

Notably, while PN's vote count decreased by 422 votes in PDM Bandar Utama Batang Kali, it increased by 273 votes in Ampang Pechah compared to the last state election.

Political analyst Dr G Manimaran revealed that PH would have likely won by a margin of fewer than 500 votes, attributing potential frustration among Indian voters with the government's unmet promises as a contributing factor.

"PH could have only won with a majority of less than 500 votes because some Indian voters may boycott the DAP candidate due to frustration with the government's failure to deliver on promises to them," he said.

Manimaran also disclosed insights from a source close to Barisan Nasional (BN), indicating that PH could have secured a majority of over 3,000 votes if Umno 'missing voters' had turned out to vote.

"This means that Umno has mobilised their machinery to convince party members to support and vote for the PH candidate in the spirit of cooperation with the Unity Government.

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"PN suffered a decline of more than 600 votes because Pas supporters boycotted the election as they were unhappy with the selection of the coalition candidate," he said when contacted by Sinar.

Manimaran also commended the effective partnership between Prime Minister Datuk Seri Anwar Ibrahim and Umno President Datuk Seri Ahmad Zahid Hamidi in rallying Umno members to support the PH campaign.

Meanwhile, Universiti Teknologi Malaysia Senior Lecturer Associate Professor Dr Mazlan Ali identified PN's defeat as stemming from a campaign strategy that predominantly targeted Malay voters, overlooking the importance of non-Malay votes.

He also noted the enhanced effectiveness of Umno's campaign machinery compared to the previous state election, bolstered by the personal involvement of Umno's leadership in supporting PH's efforts.

"The second factor is the contribution of the Umno machinery which moves more effectively than during the state election last August when Umno President went to the field several times to help the PH machinery campaign," he said.

According to Mazlan, the PN machinery, especially Pas from Selangor, was seen as less enthusiastic about helping Bersatu to campaign for votes.

"Non-Malay voters, especially the Chinese, rejected PN because of various issues before, including the issue of KK Mart and Kampung Warisan Cina.

"The Chinese see PN as less friendly to non-Malays and Muslims.

"They see that PH is more tolerant and that's why they chose the DAP candidate this time," he said.

PH candidate Pang Sock Tao won the by-election with a majority of 3,869 votes.

She polled 14,000 votes, defeating PN’s candidate Khairul Azhari Saut (10,131).

Parti Rakyat Malaysia’s Hafizah Zainuddin (152) and independent candidate Nyau Ke Xin (188).