Opposition wishes for straight fight in by-elections

Zaidi Azmi
Written by Zaidi Azmi

KUALA LUMPUR – May 11, 2016: Scores of opposition supporters are hoping for a one-on-one contest against Barisan Nasional (BN) in the upcoming Sungai Besar and Kuala Kangsar by-elections.

They wish for this because of the thinking that the by-elections are going to be additionally tough when there are more than two candidates.

Some argue that the opposition should learn from their poor electoral performance in the recent Sarawak election where they suffered heavy losses against Sarawak BN.

They pointed out that such a loss was partly due to the incessant DAP-PKR bickering and the parties’ “irrational decision” to contest against each other and BN in six constituencies.

The two by-elections had to be conducted following the death of its members of Parliament; Datuk Noriah Kasnon (Sungai Besar) and Datuk Wan Mohammad Khair-il Anuar Wan Ahmad (Kuala Kangsar), in a helicopter crash in Sarawak last week.

“We Malaysians will punish anyone in the next GE for parties that causes a three cornered fights,” wrote an anonymous commenter in a comment section of an opposition-friendly news portal.

“Let Pas contest in Kuala Kangsar and Harapan (Pakatan Harapan) in Sungai Besar,” the commenter added.

“PKR and DAP should be the cheerleaders! A punishment for being arrogant egoistic clowns,” wrote another anonymous commenter.

So far, it appeared that many have made up their mind that, this time around, the best course of action is to allow Pas to contest in Kuala Kangsar and Amanah in Sungai Besar.

“Both seats were won by BN in a razor-thin majority against Pas, coupled with the growing anti-establishment sentiment, it is highly likely that the opposition will win the by-elections this time,” Facebooker Abrar Sadiq reasoned.

“So far, Kuala Kangsar Umno does not have any decent leaders to offer its constituents, even its veteran leader Tan Sri Rafidah Aziz is pretty much out of the picture,” he added.

In the last by-election, BN (Umno) won the Malay-majority constituencies after a stiff competition with Pas; Kuala Kangsar by 1,082 and Sungai Besar by 399 majority.

But some Pas supporters, who were uncomfortable with the party’s currently “uncanny” kinship with BN, did not agree over a Pas-BN one-on-one fight.

They argued that Pas’ victory would indirectly empower BN, considering the proposed Pas-Umno unity government agenda spearheaded by Umno president Datuk Seri Najib Razak that was accepted by Pas president Datuk Seri Abdul Hadi Awang.

Pas had in the past few months announced that the party does not mind collaborating with BN as long as the cooperation was established in the spirit of Islamic principles.

“Pakatan Harapan should contest in both constituencies even if it will result in a three-cornered fight,” stressed Kibota Bob in an unofficial Pas supporters’ Facebook page.

“These two by-elections will be the perfect training ground for DAP, PKR and Amanah to battle against BN and Pas,” he wrote.

“If Amanah wins, then at least Pakatan Harapan can catch a glimpse at what it needs to win the next general election and if they lose, then they can learn something out of it,” Kibota added.

“The people are getting sick and tired of Umno. Pakatan Harapan should not give too much face to Pas because they are no longer part of the opposition pact,” wrote Khusyairi Amsyar in the same Facebook page.

“So what if it’s going to be three cornered fight…people are fed up with Umno and Pas. Although Malay votes will split at least the non-Malays will be sure to vote for Amanah,” he added.

So far the Election Commission has yet to announce the date for the two by-elections but according to earlier reports, the date will be announced on Friday.



About the author

Zaidi Azmi

Zaidi Azmi

If Zaidi Azmi isn’t busy finding his way in the city, this 26-year-old northern kampung boy can be found struggling to make sense of the Malaysian political scene. Zaidi can be reached at zaidiazmi91@gmail.com.