Monday, April 6, 2009

Potential Results of The Three By-Elections

In the last seven days, there's been active campaigning in three sections of Malaysia, the two state seats of Bukit Selambau and Batang Ai with Bukit Gantang parliamentary seat. While looking through the news from the three fronts, I can give my guessing of what the elections results could look like.

Bukit Selambau

We'll start from the north. Bukit Selambau is half-Malay and a big portion of the remaining half of the population are Indians there. The motive remains a mystery of why there are 15 candidates, 13 independents out to contest. One day, PKR youth chief Shamsul Iskandar made an interesting exposay of saying that each of the 13 independant candidates are formally members of UMNO, Gerakan and MIC.

It's true that Kalai should have been given the chance to contest in the seat but in frustration of being left out, he signaled his exit from PKR. Had Kalai been given instead of Manikumar, it is a double edge sword, first there could be accusations flying round of preferential treatement and the other side is that PKR could win better. So what Tian Chua said the other day was true, 13 independents presence are meant to spoil the votes of BN and PKR contesting.

With HINDRAF showing signs behind Manikumar, I say Manikumar is likely to come out the winner with 1 to 2 thousand majority. Ganesan can gain votes, but the Indian sentiment is still angry over the fact that Samy Vellu still remains as MIC President. Many think that the old fossil by the name of Samy Vellu failed to act significantly for the benefit of the Indians. BN votes are likely to come 50-50 from Malays.

The opposition received a boost / headstart a rew days ago when UMNO Kuala Sin branch head Marzuki Akhir left UMNO to cross over to PKR, with 1500 PPP members crossing over as well and the expose by Shamsul.

Batang Ai

Arguably the most difficult, but second important of the three by-elections. I must say that the results would end with a photo finish with Barisan winning by a slim majority of approximately 300 votes. Although Jawah Gerang is more popular than the BN counterpart, the problem lies on two things.

There has been intelligence of internal sabotaging on the PKR front and the Sarawak blogger friends are trying hard enough to fight tooth and nail to get more votes for Jaweh. But Barisan is very confident and banking on the 4000 Dayak voters to swing the majority to their favor. Each of the 4000 voters specially were paid $2000 per person to vote. Which means, for this Batang Ai campaign, close to $10 million including ad campaigns and equipment were spent on that. This case, it is money or nothing. If PKR is willing to play dirty for that, they would have to top over $8 million

I've been told that voter sentiment that most of them still favor Barisan. A good friend of mine told me that his Sarawak subordinates have the saying of keeping themselves happy and content. What it means that if the people have a problem, all they need to do is to go and see Taib Mahmud and he'll give them anything they want to make them happy. That is the mindset and it is similar to the mindset of voters who would think that way of voting BN.

Batang Ai is a very different ball game. Different mindset, different sentiment, money or nothing this is going to be tough call. But given of the situation, a 300-majority win for BN.

Bukit Gantang

The most important of all. To some, it is adding more people's voice to the Parliament to voice disatisfaction against the Barisan regime. Throughout the week, both fronts are fighting for voters but throughout my weekend observation of the town, it seems that Barisan is playing a very very dirty game.

First of all, there are many banners that pose very flaming remarks on PAS and others including the Derhaka, Boneka DAP and etc.. Barisan has deployed almost all the police force in here alone, surpassing the 6000 in Kuala Terengganu. And then there many instant noodles projects cooked in the span of 5 days, most notably in Port Weld. You can see Ong Tee Keat, on behalf of the MCA decided at very last minute to give swap land agreements.

But then there has been some weaknesses and many exposes by the opposition and the cyber community. Rosli Hussin, the Terong assemblyman has openly opposed to having Ismail Saffian as the BN candidate of choice. Today, Mahathir has "publicly scolded" Zambry over the lack of attendance of the afternoon luncheon, and the worst of all is the revelation that Islam Hadhari minister Zahid Hamidi actually attacked Taiping MP Nga Kor Ming over the Quran rendition as well as the worst of all, enticing local gangsters to threaten Chinese voters not to vote Pakatan.

The police also have offered money to local gangsters to spoil the, but like the pirates code of ethics, they said no, meaning there could be a "spillover" or bad blood between the two later on.

The real problem is on two things, Malay voting sentiment, mostly 60:40 for PAS / BN and vice versa and secondly the problem is that the Chinese voters, though initially agreed to support Pakatan might suddenly go to BN fearing of being branded as supporting Hudud...etc..blah, a repeat of Kuala Terengganu.

Given of the scenario and the exposes on Barisan Nasional, Nizar could be winning approximately 3000 votes majority though betters are betting for 5000 majority.

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