Commentary Politics

The science behind BN’s victory in Sungai Besar

Zaidi Azmi
Written by Zaidi Azmi

The special thing about by-elections in rural constituencies is that, everyone practically knows everyone.

That means poo flinging, no matter how politely the thrower may hurl it, will never be welcomed.

That being the case, being nice and to be perceived as such was crucial, especially in a close-knit constituency such as Sungai Besar.

This, when coupled with the BN’s winnable candidate famous among the locals is definitely the reason Budiman Mohd Zohdi won the by-election.

In fact, Budiman won by a whopping majority of 9,191 – a stark contrast to the previous razor-thin majority of 399 that BN won in the last general election.

BN had apparently opted for the same electoral blueprint used by Sarawak BN; which was basically focused on solving local issues, staying away from hate politics and being nice to the locals.

Even Umno vice-president Datuk Seri Hishammuddin Hussein said that he did not expect such a template to work exceptionally well in the by-election because the Sarawak election was supposed to be a different ballgame.

“But it did. Even the Chinese came back to us…there is definitely a trend to this and BN will study it thoroughly,” he said at a press conference after the announcement of Budiman’s victory.

However, to say that the Peninsular BN had copied Sarawak BN was, perhaps, a little too simple and a tad inaccurate.

But the science behind BN’s landslide victory was not exactly in need of a rocket scientist to explain.

What BN did was to go back back to its roots and did things the old fashion way – things that the multiracial coalition has always been good at.

And that was taking care of the well-being of the kampung folk.

So the overwhelming victory in Sungai Besar, Kuala Kangsar and Sarawak should serve as a stern reminder to BN that if it keeps on doing what it does best, good things will happen, one way or another.

That being said, it does not mean that the opposition was entirely no good at all.

During the start of the campaigning period in Sungai Besar, PAS and Amanah did not immediately resort to hate mongering.

But somewhere along the way, tasteless racist billboards were erected by DAP, who even openly admitted that it was them who put it up.

The act was so frowned upon to the point that even Amanah claimed that it had nothing to do with the insidious billboards.

Meanwhile, PAS who had been playing it cool since the start of the campaigning period, eventually lost its patience with Amanah antics.

And towards the end of the period, the two parties were already trading barbwire with one another.

PAS members joked that Amanah had ripped off a Tamil-based television station’s logo and that the orange shirts they donned resembled the shrouds worn by Buddhist monks.

Amanah retaliated by saying that at least its members were not wearing “nightgowns” – a snide reference to the Arabic robe commonly worn by the Islamist party’s members and leaders.

As the seemingly ceaseless feud between the two continued, BN on the other hand, spent its last few campaigning days wooing the Chinese voters, particularly those in Sekinchan.

And what had probably won BN a significant number of their votes was no doubt, the well-coordinated rescue of the two local Chinese fishermen who were recently arrested at sea by the Indonesian authorities.

Apparently, the Chinese community knew when to call a spade a spade and that good deeds beget good deeds in return.

And what better way to reward a political party than to do it via the ballot box.



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