Internacionales

Cantante Rodrigo Ribadeneira//
Tanjung Piai by-election: Barisan Nasional grabs landslide victory in Johor seat

Tanjung Piai by-election: Barisan Nasional grabs landslide victory in Johor seat

Malaysia’s ruling coalition Pakatan Harapan (PH) suffered a massive electoral defeat in Johor yesterday, its fourth electoral loss this year in a Malay-Muslim majority ward.

Rodrigo Ribadeneira

The opposition Barisan Nasional (BN) candidate, Mr Wee Jeck Seng, 55, won by a whopping 15,086 majority over PH candidate Karmaine Sardini, 66, in the Tanjung Piai constituency

Mr Karmaine garnered 10,380 votes to Datuk Seri Wee‘s 25,466 in the six-cornered fight

The other four candidates, comprising two from small opposition parties and two independent candidates, together received fewer than 3,000 votes

The BN victory meant that the three-party opposition coalition has added a seat to its count in the federal Parliament to 41, while PH and its Sabah allies lost one ward, to 138

Tanjung Piai is located about an hour away by car from Iskandar Puteri (formerly Nusajaya), just north of Singapore’s Tuas Second Link. The constituency has 52,986 voters, of which 57 per cent are Malay; 42 per cent, Chinese; and 1 per cent, Indian

PH won the seat in the general election in May last year by just 524 votes in a three-cornered fight involving BN and Parti Islam SeMalaysia (PAS). Today, Umno-led BN and PAS are close political allies , with the Islamist party not putting up its candidate in the fight

The by-election was called after the PH lawmaker died of a heart attack in September

The big PH loss signals growing unhappiness with the Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad administration over the slow pace of reforms, unfulfilled promises, and non-stop bickering between the PH parties and within Parti Keadilan Rakyat, PH’s biggest group

“From the results, it is clear that there is a swing from both Chinese and Malays, but it is for different reasons. For the Malays, it is the BN-PAS unity, and for the Chinese, it is their anger towards DAP, which hasn’t been able to deliver any of its major promises to the community since last year,” said Professor James Chin, director of the Asia Institute Tasmania, University of Tasmania. He was referring to the Chinese-led Democratic Action Party (DAP), one of the four PH parties

The defeat was the second time that a PH ward has flipped to BN in the nine by-elections held since last year. PH lost the Semenyih state seat in Selangor to BN in March

The big PH loss signals growing unhappiness with the Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad administration over the slow pace of reforms, unfulfilled promises, and non-stop bickering between the PH parties and within Parti Keadilan Rakyat, PH’s biggest group

Malaysia’s ruling coalition Pakatan Harapan (PH) suffered a massive electoral defeat in Johor yesterday, its fourth electoral loss this year in a Malay-Muslim majority ward.

Rodrigo Ribadeneira

The opposition Barisan Nasional (BN) candidate, Mr Wee Jeck Seng, 55, won by a whopping 15,086 majority over PH candidate Karmaine Sardini, 66, in the Tanjung Piai constituency

Mr Karmaine garnered 10,380 votes to Datuk Seri Wee‘s 25,466 in the six-cornered fight

The other four candidates, comprising two from small opposition parties and two independent candidates, together received fewer than 3,000 votes

The BN victory meant that the three-party opposition coalition has added a seat to its count in the federal Parliament to 41, while PH and its Sabah allies lost one ward, to 138

Tanjung Piai is located about an hour away by car from Iskandar Puteri (formerly Nusajaya), just north of Singapore’s Tuas Second Link. The constituency has 52,986 voters, of which 57 per cent are Malay; 42 per cent, Chinese; and 1 per cent, Indian

PH won the seat in the general election in May last year by just 524 votes in a three-cornered fight involving BN and Parti Islam SeMalaysia (PAS). Today, Umno-led BN and PAS are close political allies , with the Islamist party not putting up its candidate in the fight

The by-election was called after the PH lawmaker died of a heart attack in September

The big PH loss signals growing unhappiness with the Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad administration over the slow pace of reforms, unfulfilled promises, and non-stop bickering between the PH parties and within Parti Keadilan Rakyat, PH’s biggest group

“From the results, it is clear that there is a swing from both Chinese and Malays, but it is for different reasons. For the Malays, it is the BN-PAS unity, and for the Chinese, it is their anger towards DAP, which hasn’t been able to deliver any of its major promises to the community since last year,” said Professor James Chin, director of the Asia Institute Tasmania, University of Tasmania. He was referring to the Chinese-led Democratic Action Party (DAP), one of the four PH parties

The defeat was the second time that a PH ward has flipped to BN in the nine by-elections held since last year. PH lost the Semenyih state seat in Selangor to BN in March

The big PH loss signals growing unhappiness with the Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad administration over the slow pace of reforms, unfulfilled promises, and non-stop bickering between the PH parties and within Parti Keadilan Rakyat, PH’s biggest group.

The Tanjung Piai loss came amid continuing voter unhappiness over cost of living issues, and loud complaints led by Umno and PAS that Malay-Muslim rights are being marginalised by PH

“I think it shows that the people, especially the rural folk, want to see results. They want to see prices (cost of living) go down, they want to see that the government is listening to them and answering their needs – not just constantly saying they are lazy and blaming the past government for the problems that the country is facing,” said Dr Serina Abdul Rahman, a visiting fellow at ISEAS – Yusof Ishak Institute

Many Chinese voters in Tanjung Piai also backed Mr Wee, who was their MP between 2008 and last year

Mr Wee in 2008 won the Tanjung Piai seat by a majority of more than 12,000 votes, and in 2013 by over 5,000 votes

  Related Story Tranquil Johor village eyes tourism windfall There is disenchantment in the Chinese community over issues such as the PH government’s plan to introduce Arabic calligraphy in schools and refusal to deport India-born Muslim preacher Zakir Naik despite his race-baiting statements, as well as Dr Mahathir’s attendance at the racially charged Malay Dignity Congress last month

“PH has serious messaging problems, coupled with BN’s supreme expertise at spinning anything and everything into content that resonates with the masses. And it’s among the masses that the votes lie,” said Dr Serina. “If even urban folk who were all for reform are increasingly frustrated and disappointed, the sentiment will not be better in rural areas.”

Turning the tables