Bagan Pinang: Unbelievable results
How on earth could we unearth the real reasons for the lost?
Certainly the mood from the ground differs with the results….that is a fact.
Why couldn’t Pakatan Rakyat translate mood to votes as before?
Political analyst Ong Kian Ming made the estimation based on the Election Commission’s data when he examined the change in the level of BN support from 2008 to 2009 by ‘saluran’ or polling stream and the ethnic composition of the respective ‘saluran’.
According to him, Umno candidate Mohd Isa Samad had also registered an increase of 4 percent in Malay support in the Negri Sembilan state seat compared to the results in the 2008 general election.
In the Sunday’s by-election, Isa doubled the majority garnered by Azman Mohammad Noor when the late Umno candidate crushed his PAS opponent last year.
Isa (right with garland), a former cabinet minister, who was suspended from the party for three years after being found guilty of vote buying in Umno polls, took the seat with a margin of 5,435 votes.
Ong said that based on the results of the Bagan Pinang by-election, 67 percent of Malay voters had backed Isa.
Interestingly, a higher proportion – 73 percent – of non-Malay voters gave their support to the Umno candidate.
Three key factors
Ong identified three key factors which led to the dramatic voter swing back to BN.
- Isa’s long standing presence in the constituency as well as in the state as a former MB.
- The weakness of the PAS candidate and machinery.
- The salience of local issues that were perceived to be more important than national issues like the cow-head incident in Shah Alam and the Teoh Beng Hock case.
As for the postal voters, which make up 40 percent of the state constituency, Ong said Prime Minister Najib Razak’s reputation and popularity as the former long-standing defence minister has ensured that Umno received the lion share of the votes.
Isa bagged 3,521 postal votes while his rival, PAS’ Zulkefly Mohamad Omar pulled in a measly 601 votes.
In the 2008 general election, BN got 3,080 postal votes against PAS’ 1,189.
Wake-up call for Pakatan
Ong (below) however added that the hefty swing seen in Bagan Pinang may not be so pronounced in other constituencies.
“Any swing towards the BN (elsewhere) would be much less because of the absence of postal votes and the inability to have another Isa-type candidate for Umno.”
He also questioned whether BN’s feat could be replicated in another racially-mixed seat where the opposition was the incumbent.
“Any seat in an urban area with a larger Chinese voter presence would not be so easy for the BN to swing to the same extent.
“It would be mistaken to think that such a large vote swing could be manufactured in another constituency, for example in Selangor or Kuala Lumpur.”
Nevertheless, he said Bagan Pinang is a wake-up call for Pakatan Rakyat.
“It is a stark reminder, especially to PAS, that they cannot take the non-Malay votes for granted.”