KUALA LUMPUR – Pakatan Harapan’s failure to secure the Bumiputera support needed to win the Cameron Highlands by-election exposes the pact’s continued weakness among the country’s majority, according to DAP’s Ong Kian Ming.

The Bangi federal lawmaker said the Saturday outcome also confirmed his earlier prediction that the pact’s fortunes would hinge on its ability to improve on the Malay and Orang Asli communities’ support from last year’s general election.

DAP’s M. Manogaran was easily defeated by Barisan Nasional’s direct candidate, former Orang Asli police officer Ramli Mohd Nor, by a margin of over 3,000 votes or a magnitude more than the 597 votes from the 14th general election.

From a preliminary analysis of the result, Ong said it was still too early to deduce the complete reasons for PH’s inability to crack the BN stronghold.

“One thing, however, is clear. Just because PH is in power at the federal level, we cannot assume that there will be a natural shift in support towards the federal government among those groups who have been seen to be more reliant on the support provided by the federal government.

“This would include the Orang Asli communities and the Felda settlers, two of the most important voting groups in Cameron Highlands,” Ong said in a statement.

He added that the ruling coalition must now redouble its efforts to win the “hearts and minds” of voters from Malaysia’s dominant indigenous communities in addition to retaining its current support from others in the country.

Ong also said lessons from the Cameron Highlands poll will provide the basis for the pact’s action plan to retain federal power four years from now.

According to Ong’s study of data by voting districts, PH largely retained its support from Chinese voters and improved among the Indian community, but was not able to gain any ground among Malay voters.

The Cameron Highlands poll was the first won by BN since its general election defeat and provided a glimpse into the possible political shift that could be achieved through an organised partnership with Islamist party PAS.

PAS sat out the by-election and threw its full support behind Ramli. The Islamists had secured over 3,000 ballots during the 14th general election or approximately the same number gained by BN in this poll.

Bung advises caution over Umno-PAS cooperation

KUALA LUMPUR – Sabah Umno chairman Datuk Seri Bung Moktar Radin has cautioned PAS and Umno to tread carefully after both parties started campaigning for one another in several by-elections.

While he himself welcomed any partnership with his party, Bung admitted to being wary of PAS and said there was a need to have some limitations, given the parties’ years of enmity.

“So, with Umno and PAS, we have to be careful. Both parties have to be careful because both of them have been enemies for many years.

“It’s not easy to move these two parties on an easy platform. It needs communication and some limitations,” Bung told Malay Mail recently.

He said Umno should be selective when deciding what issues it wants to join hands with when it comes to collaborating with the Islamist party.

“We have to be cautious because, on the ground, Umno and PAS members have been fighting for so many years. So now not only is Umno defeated, but PAS and Umno are the Opposition, and each has their own politics.

“This is simply because we don’t want a situation where they don’t see eye to eye on a certain matter and then things explode,” he added.

After the 14th general election, PAS has been engaged in a brotherhood of sort with Umno; the party has so far backed out of four by-elections to make way for Umno.

PAS had backed Barisan Nasional (BN) during the Sungai Kandis, Balakong, and Cameron Highlands by-elections. PAS will again throw its support for Umno in the upcoming Semenyih race.

Although Pakatan Harapan (PH) won Sungai Kandis and Balakong, BN won the recent Cameron Highlands race with a majority of over 3,000 votes, up from a margin of about 600 votes in the 14th general election.

Apart from Bung, Rembau MP Khairy Jamaluddin had also previously raised concerns about the Umno-PAS pact back when the two first joined forces during the Sungai Kandis by-election.

Bung said that for Sabah Umno however, it has the freedom to choose its own political partners, in accordance with the ‘Sabahan way’.

He said this was because of the different political environment in East and West Malaysia.

“Actually in Sabah, PAS influence is not strong.

“Also it’s not that we do not accept (Umno-PAS) partnership, but we in Sabah Umno ask for autonomy.

“So we are asking also, the autonomy to decide on who is our partner. In Peninsula, you can choose. You want to go with PAS or Parti Pribumi Bersatu Malaysia (PPBM), it’s up to you. In Sabah, we determine. We decide ourselves,” he added.

– Malay Mail