Double wins bring breathing space for PMX

DATUK Seri Mohamad Sabu looked more relieved than those milling around him on election night in Pulai.

In fact, the Amanah president seemed more gratified than even the newly elected Pulai MP Suhaizan Kayat as he thanked everyone under the sun for their role in the by-elections.

The Pulai and Simpang Jeram outcome is highly significant for his party and the government of Datuk Seri Anwar Ibrahim.

For him, it was the moment when the gloomy clouds hanging over his party since the dismal state elections finally parted to let the sunshine through.

Amanah was also a major casualty in the state elections and the double wins in Johor have given the party a boost and what Mohamad hopes is a signal that the party is here to stay, that it’s not just a Malay mannequin to DAP.

Retaining Pulai was also crucial for the unity government to maintain its grip on its two-thirds majority in Parliament.

“You could say this is the first real success of the alliance between Umno and Pakatan Harapan, that it can actually work,” said Pulai Umno division chief Datuk Seri Nur Jazlan Mohamed.

And, of course, the ruling coalition can now claim that it has foiled the green wave in Johor where the PAS influence is limited and where it lacks an outstanding leader or political network.

Suhaizan had the edge in Pulai where non-Malays make up 56% of the voters.

The son of a Felda scheme settler also had name recognition as the former speaker of the Johor state assembly where he was known to be fair and competent. That plus the fact that Suhaizan had contested and lost in six previous elections in Johor.

Perikatan Nasional lost in Simpang Jeram despite having a superior candidate in vascular surgeon Dr Mohd Nazri Yahaya.

Perikatan’s inability to bring it on in the by-elections confirms that racially mixed seats will continue to be its Achilles heel.

“The partners in the unity government were able to retain their influence in Johor, even in Malay-majority areas that they struggled to perform elsewhere.

“In terms of overall voting patterns, the status quo remains the flavour of the day with voters but the low turnout is alarming for all parties. They must take heed of this,” said KRA Group strategy director Amir Fareed Rahim.

The low turnout has since been attributed to the weather, voter apathy and the “Zahid factor”.

The court decision on Datuk Seri Dr Ahmad Zahid Hamidi’s corruption case was terribly awkward for Pakatan leaders who had gone to town painting the Umno president as a kleptocrat in the November general election.

Videos of Mohamed’s tirade against Ahmad Zahid back then were circulating like crazy on social media.

The “Zahid factor” very likely disheartened the non-Malays in Pulai because Nur Jazlan’s estimate is that only half of them voted.

Nur Jazlan had organised a dinner for the Chinese voters in the Perling area a day before Ahmad Zahid’s court decision. They filled 200 tables and the Deputy Prime Minister went to every table to greet the diners.

Only one person refused to shake his hand and even scolded him but everyone else shook the Umno president’s hand and many posed for wefies.

“Umno brought out our hardcore supporters but I don’t think DAP was able to persuade all their usual Chinese voters to come out. We also brought the two Amanah candidates around the Malay areas where they had zero contacts,” said Nur Jazlan.

On a lighter note, Nur Jazlan said the low Chinese turnout could also be due to the fact that “there is no more party for them to hate”.

Hate, he said, is a major motivating factor in politics and the Chinese had been driven to hate Umno in the last few decades.

The kopitiam talk among the Chinese was that politics nowadays is like going to a restaurant where everyone orders something different. But when the food arrives, everybody finds that they got the same dish.

It is their way of expressing how they voted for change but got more of the same.

Another factor in play, said KRA Group’s Amir is the relatively good state government led by Barisan Nasional and the legacy of the late Datuk Seri Salahuddin Ayub whose sudden death led to the by-elections.

Amir said Datuk Onn Hafiz Ghazi has passed his first test since becoming Johor Mentri Besar.

“It also suggests that the residue of Malay support for Barisan is still there. Barisan voters were more willing than their counterparts in the other states to transfer their votes to Pakatan to preserve Barisan’s strength in the state even if the candidates are not from Barisan,” said Amir.

Are the Pulai and Simpang Jeram outcomes a sign that Malays are thawing towards Umno and able to accept the alliance of strange bedfellows?

It is too soon to make such a conclusion because as Aristotle’s saying goes, “One swallow does not a summer make”.

The two stumbling blocks – DAP and Umno – still stand in the way of a perfect summer.

However, Ahmad Zahid received a warm welcome when he attended the DAP annual general meeting at a hotel in Putrajaya this morning.

It was a first for both sides and it shows how determined the two parties are to keep the unity government in power.  ANN

Time for Tan Sri Muhyiddin To Retire, Hamzah Has To Take Over. Bersatu Has To Separate From PAS

The Perikatan Nasional or PN lost both the by-elections in Pulai (Parliament) and Simpang Jeram (State).
  • Saturday, 09 Sep 2023
  • PH won both Pulai and Simpang Jeram
  • because of bad weather and low voter turnouts 
  • Pulai, PH polled 48,283 votes (18,641-vote majority)
  • PN polled 29,642 votes 
  • voter turnout for Pulai 47%
  • Simpang Jeram PH polled 13,844 votes (majority 3,534 votes)
  • PN received 10,330 votes
  • voter turnout Simpang Jeram 60% 

The low voter turnout (47% Pulai, 60% Simpang Jeram) caused by bad weather, certainly helped PH to win both seats. Plenty of Chinese voters turned out to vote for PH despite the poor weather but plenty of Malays did not turn out to vote for the PN.

Also ALL the bank accounts of Bersatu and even that of some of its leaders have been ‘frozen’.  So the party had less funds to fund its campaigns.

It is obvious that PAS does not have as much popularity outside Kedah, Kelantan and Terengganu. The PAS candidate lost at Simpang Jeram. 

In the SIX State by-elections prior to this Pas’ 99 wins were concentrated in the three States of Kelantan, Terengganu and Kedah. Pas did not perform as well in Penang, Selangor and Negeri Sembilan.

In contrast Bersatu won 46 seats across the SIX States. 

It is time that Bersatu / Perikatan Nasional splits with Pas amicably. Amicably meaning they can form an electoral pact where Pas and Bersatu / PN do not go head to head in all the seats. Not easy to achieve but something can be worked out.

Failing which Bersatu / PN must go separate from PAS.  PAS is not an asset outside Kelantan, Terengganu and Kedah. Urban Malays, more educated Malays especially in the West Coast cannot accept turban wearing, village mentality PAS. 

Pulai is part of Johor Bahru and Simpang Jeram is close to Muar – both are urban, west coast seats with a mixed population as well. 

And may I add there has to be a proper Census done again to determine the more exact demographic make up of the country. Obviously in Simpang Jeram and Pulai the “minority” Chinese vote has helped to carry the day for the PH. There were not enough Malay voters. 

Finally Tan Sri Muhyiddin Yassin has to gracefully retire now and let Dato Seri Hamzah Zainuddin take over Bersatu and PN.  Much work needs to be done and the sooner Hamzah gets started the better. – http://syedsoutsidethebox.blogspot.com/2023/

ANN / http://syedsoutsidethebox.blogspot.com/2023/