Monday, October 12, 2009

Re-Examining Bagan Pinang

Many of us predicted a very close fight and a less than 1000 vote majority for whoever side wins but the result yesterday was unbelievable and in fact the majority was doubled more compared to the 2333 majority polled during the 2008 General Elections. After some thought, one thing for certain is that this time the win is not a rigged win but instead it is a very comprehensive win for BN and this tells Pakatan that they are starting to slack and they will need to go back to the drawing board seriously. While the counting was still on, the unofficial majority numbers that was huge between UMNO and PAS shows that it was a foregone conclusion.

Apart from Isa's popularity with people, Chinese in particular -

From Rembau Times:
The Chinese support for PAS seemed to have evaporated. Voters decided to vote with their hearts and was fully aware of the development Tan Sri Isa had brought to the community. There were also plans to further expand the local tourism industry, with religious temples being adopted as official tourist destination. The fact that the current implosion in MCA did not translate into a loss of confidence by the Chinese on BN suggests that the problems are transient and the community's support can be regained once MCA has weathered through this leadership crisis.
, the win as attributed to some several factors here:

Postal Votes

85 percent of the postal votes or (3521) was in BN. This forms 44 percent of Isa's total votes. However, there are several manipulation elements and suspicions in here that ensures that this block forms part of the votes. The one thing that was raised by the PAS guys is how a government official like MB Mohd. Hassan and the Defence Minister Ahmad Zahid Hamidi used their positions to entice voters into voting for them. Maybe the promise of newer projects played the part of it. The press conference by Sallahudin Ayub on the 9th shows of irregularities, but the big mark for that factor is this:
Malah Pengarah Jentera Operasi PAS, Pilihan Raya Kecil Dun Bagan Pinang berkata, terdapat aduan dari pengundi pos mengenai salahguna kuasa Menteri Besar Negeri Sembilan, Dato' Seri Utama Haji Mohamad bin Haji Hasan yang berkempen di dalam satu majlis jamuan hari raya di Institut Kejuruteraan Tentera Darat.
  • "Menteri Besar tersebut menggunakan jawatannya untuk meminta pengundi memilih Isa sebagai wakil rakyat " ujarnya.
Pada majlis yang sama juga katanya, Menteri Pertahanan, Datuk Seri Dr Mohd Zahid Hamidi mengugut tentera untuk menarik balik projek-projek yang dijanjikan sebelum ini.
  • "Zahid Hamidi berkata, kita ada banyak lagi projek untuk tentera, tapi kita kena tengok kertas undi dulu la," jelasnya.

New military projects / facilities promises by them could possibly sway them to vote.

Indian Votes

Supposed we exclude the postal votes, the MIC said that 74 percent of the 1870 votes were in the favor of the BN. I believe that Makkal Sakthi party, thought yet to be part of the coalition but in support of the BN played a part of it. What is found that most of the Indian voters were given money, sarees, muruku, flour and etc as their angpow in exchange for votes. Another thing that could hint of voting in their favor was still the Kampung Buah Pala episode. Lim Guan Eng was still blamed over the episode whereas the real parties who was involved in that was Koh Tsu Koon and the previous state government.

In the Indian estates of Siliau, out of 1662 registered voters there, 782 votes were in BN while only 318 were in PAS favor. Isa was seen to be there after casting his vote here, perhaps to entice support from the Indian community there with possbily parties like IDF, Makkal Sakthi on the tow.

Makkal Sakthi party was rewarded quite well for this win really and it benefitted Najib.

Wrong Candidate and The Machinery Mistakes by PR

Port Dickson by nature is a tourist site as mentioned in the Cuti-Cuti Malaysia site focus on Negeri Sembilan. To put a PAS candidate can easily give the impression to people living within the part of Port Dickson as a tourist town to turn into a town with Taliban-style rulings - as most non-Malays townfolk would believe there. It would scare them off, particularly for the older generation and particularly damaging the state tourism. This is something that BN would harp on, giving of the town's prestige tourism status. If you look along the first 10 miles of Jalan Pantai, you would see the chalets, hotels and apartments for rent for tourists along the way.

If the Pakatan Rakyat places a Keadilan candidate, then the result could be different, unlike the high winning margin and since Keadilan is one of the multi-racial parties, it could get the people to know more about what that candidate could do.

The post-Hasan Ali fiasco in the Selangor state government still gives a damaging reputation for the party, thus in relation to what mentioned above.

Also, Pete has written something interesting about the PR machinery here (Excerpt:)

In Bagan Pinang, the opposition is so disorganised. There are allegations that Kuala Lumpur has taken over the Bagan Pinang election campaign while the locals from Negeri Sembilan are being sidelined. It was not until the fourth day after Nomination Day when PAS invited the other component members from Pakatan Rakyat for a meeting. In the end, PAS did their own thing while PKR and DAP, who were left out in the cold, organised their own programmes independent of PAS. PAS did not even arrange for the Wakil Rakyat from PKR and DAP to speak at the ceramah.

We would have imagined that after the March 2008 general election, and the many by-elections since then, the opposition would improve itself because of the experience it has gained. This does not appear to be so in Bagan Pinang. It appears like they have gone backwards and act like this is their first election.

What has happened to Pakatan Rakyat? The Bagan Pinang by-election is not a PAS by-election. It is a Pakatan Rakyat by-election even though the candidate is from PAS. And how can Kuala Lumpur just walk in and take over while sidelining the local Negeri Sembilan boys?

Maybe it is good that PAS loses this by-election. Maybe this is what is needed to wake them up. Umno cannot make it without the other 13 component members of Barisan Nasional. What makes PAS think it can make it all on its own without PKR and DAP -- and worse, without the involvement of the local boys on the ground?

I would not be too disappointed if PAS gets massacred good and proper later today. Maybe they need this wake up call. But what hurts is the fact that they would get massacred not because Umno is strong but because Pakatan Rakyat conducted themselves like a bunch of amateurs.

Youth Votes?

There was a Youth wing division talk that was led by Khairy and echoed by others including MIC's T. Mohan that spurred the votes to their favor.
"One group who would be smilling will be the MIC. Under the leadership of T.Mohan and the strong cooperation with Pemuda UMNO, the voters repaid in full the current focus being placed on the community by the leadership of Dato Seri Najib Tun Razak."
End Notes:

1. Of course the win is predicted from most newspapers and even Tengku Razaleigh himself. But the word of caution from him is to have a corrupt candidate winning is an endorsement to corruption:

"A win by Isa would translate into an endorsement of corruption-as-usual within the party and the government that it leads."

2. This time the PR needs to seriously go back to the drawing board. You cannot simply field a candidate because the previous candidate who contested here is also from PAS. They need to analyze the population breakdown of an area and determine the best candidate to do so before naming one. This a point in case.

3. Bagan Pinang people will have to watch out for false promises in future. If people there have voted for Isa just because of his popularity, please watch out for any projects that was promised but never happened in the coming 2 - 3 years before the next General elections. If it's the same thing then before, then you should translate your anger into votes.

4. The return of one of the prominent UMNO warlords in Negeri Sembilan would pose trouble for the current MB Mohd Hassan. We don't right now what is Hassan or Najib's moves, but to see what unfolds next between the two.

5. The next by-election that will see whether PR has corrected their mistakes would be in Johol, very likely. And they have at approximately 1-2 months or so to be ready for it. Johol for instance is a rural town in Rembau and the population breakdown can tell how to reach the voters there.

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