BN’s candidate Amizar Abu Adam secured 7,324 votes in last weekend’s Pelangai by-election, beating PAS’ Kasim Samat with a convincing 2,949-vote majority, successfully keeping the “green wave” in check and helping BN retain the state seat.
Pelangai has always been a BN stronghold. Even with the “green wave” ravaging much of the peninsula in last year’s general election, BN’s candidate Johari Harun managed to win with an impressive majority of 4,048 votes in a four-cornered fight.
That said, given PN’s strong showing in the six state elections two months back, it was generally believed that BN would still have an upper hand in Pelangai, although PN still stood a chance.
Although PN was defeated in the twin elections in Johor last month, the coalition managed to gain some new footing, and it was believed that PN would gain some forward thrust if it were to perform well in Pelangai. But at the same time, the Unity Government, in particular Umno, also needed a convincing victory to boost its depressed morale while stopping any further drain of Malay votes.
While on the surface, last weekend’s election was only a by-election for a Pahang state constituency, and the results would not affect the state administration in any way. However, from the macroscopic point of view, this by-election will offer a glimpse into how the so-called “green wave” is trending, and how solid is the collaboration between PH and BN, as well as Umno’s strength.
With the BN candidate now winning Pelangai, we can safely conclude that the “green wave” has failed to make further advances. As a matter of fact, the results of the by-elections in Johor already demonstrated that the “green wave” was ebbing, and with further retreat in a predominantly Malay constituency in Pelangai (with 73% Malay, 18% Chinese, 6% Indian and 3% other voters), this shows that Umno is able to hold on to its Malay vote bank.
Stop talking about changing government, and do your part–as opposition or government–and take Malaysia forward!
Nonetheless, PH and BN must not become complacent by the sweet taste of success, as PN has indeed gained some votes while BN has seen its majority thinned by over a thousand votes.
Despite the defeat, PN’s performance has been impressive. Pahang PN chairman Saifuddin Abdullah said PN had made significant headway in Felda settlements and had won more Malay votes in general, which is a hard fact, although the gain was not big enough for the coalition to wrestle Pelangai.
This is indeed where the PN bottleneck lies. Although exploiting sensitive racial and religious issues can earn the coalition some voter support and shore up its fundamental base, the same will also “scare away” other voters. We cannot rule out the possibility that some voters have turned to BN because they cannot accept PN’s ultra-conservative approach.
The by-election results also show that the cooperation between PH and BN is increasingly acceptable to the voters, and the earlier fear of massive vote drain has not materialized.
PM Anwar said BN’s victory in Pelangai showed that the cooperation among parties in the Unity Government had successfully shattered the narrow-minded racism and malicious narratives, while the Chinese played a pivotal role in this by-election to contribute positively to BN’s victory.
With so many elections in the past few months (six state elections, twin by-elections in Johor and Pelangai by-election), political fatigue has evidently seeped into Malaysian society. It is now time for all parties to put aside politics and work together to boost the country’s development.
PN must stop manipulating the “change government” narrative to disrupt market sentiment and undermine political stability. PN has kept playing the “change government” card from the six state elections through the Johor twin elections and the just concluded Pelangai by-election. The reality is, the elections are now behind us, but the Unity Government is still very much alive and kicking, with no elected Pahang state reps from the Unity Government changing sides as alleged.
Well, it is up to individuals to interpret whether the “green wave” has subsided, but judging from the results of recent elections, at least at this juncture PN has failed to make major breakthroughs to rock the foundation of the Unity Government.
So, stop talking about changing government, and do your part–as opposition or government–and take Malaysia forward!