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PH needs to have more faith in itself

  • The government should focus more on bigger issues instead of getting so obsessed with national car 3.0 or bumiputra convention.

Sin Chew Daily

PKR's victory in Sungai Kandis by-election should give the party more confidence in Malay votes. However, given the super low voter turnout, the new government should perhaps come up with encouraging policies in a bid to reignite the passion of the public.

Although PKR's candidate Mohd Zawawi defeated BN's Lokman Noor Adam by a significantly narrowed margin, given the fact that he managed to get 61.02% of popular vote, 5.42 percentage points higher than the 55.6% in GE14, it showed that there was a slight increase in Malay support, as Malay voters made up 71.34% of all Sungai Kandis voters.

There was apparent collaboration between Umno and PAS in the by-election. Firstly, PAS withdrew from contesting in Sungai Kandis, and then the party campaigned for Umno and urged its members to vote for Umno. However, the effect was poorer than anticipated.

In GE14, Umno won 26.68% of votes, PAS 17.54%, total 44.22%. But in the by-election, Umno only managed to get 37.91% of votes, or 6.31% short.

This showed that some PAS members and supporters were unhappy to work with Umno, allowing PKR to win the votes of some PAS supporters in three of the polling stations.

We can safely say that we have the outcome for the test of Umno-PAS tie-up through the by-election. PAS leadership should therefore reconsider its decision to work with Umno.

In addition, Umno's strategy of creating a sense of crisis among the Malays by exploiting racial issues has failed. Umno has been playing the racial card after the general elections, claiming that the Malay rights and the status of the Malay language are under menace.

Intimidating voters and creating fear among the people can no longer work in Selangor, and soon in rural areas too. Umno's decision to transform itself into a more aggressive party is a dead-end road.

Former PM Najib is perhaps the one most disappointed with the by-election results. He has pinned his hopes on the by-election to prove that he is still trusted and supported by the people, and was seen campaigning fervently in Sungai Kandis.

The by-election results nevertheless proved that Najib was actually a "liability" of Umno, and PH will stand to gain so long as Umno refuses to sever all ties with Najib.

Meanwhile, MCA has opted to stick to BN because the party will not get any Malay vote if it were to go solo, even though it is unhappy with Umno getting intimate with PAS.

Under such circumstances, it is impossible for the party to win in the upcoming Balakong by-election no matter how effective it is to check the new government.

All that being said, PH cannot afford to overlook the signal of displeasure among urban and middle voters given the ultra low voter turnout of 49.4%. This sentiment is expected to spread beyond Sungai Kandis, and voter turnouts are not expected to be encouraging in Balakong and Seri Setia by-elections.

So far PH has not yet come up with a clear set of national policies. Malaysians will not have a sense of direction if the policies are not clear.

The new government has also failed to settle some of the old issues such as underage marriage, LGBT and UEC recognition.

Economically, although the PH government has reduced the GST rate to zero and has managed to stabilize fuel prices, allowing the rakyat to breathe a sigh of relief, the government has been overly frugal and has no stimulus solutions to lure investors or stimulate the economy.

The government should focus more on these major issues instead of getting so obsessed with national car 3.0 or bumiputra convention.

It is unusual to have less than 50% of voter turnout in the by-election despite the boiling sentiment merely three months ago. This should sound an alarm bell to warn the new government no to test the people's patience.

PH needs to have more confidence in itself as well as its policy planning, because its performance is key to its continued rule in this country.



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