BN reclaims Tanjung Piai with landslide victory

Wee polled 25,466 votes against his closest contender, PH’s Karmaine Sardini of 10,380 votes

by SHAHEERA AZNAM SHAH/ pic by BERNAMA

BARISAN Nasional (BN) has reclaimed the Tanjung Piai constituency after its candidate Datuk Seri Dr Wee Jeck Seng won the six-cornered by-election with 15,086 majority votes.

The by-election was called following the death of incumbent Pakatan Harapan’s (PH) Datuk Dr Md Farid Md Rafik on Sept 21 due to heart complications.

Wee, a former two-term Tanjung Piai MP, polled 25,466 votes against his closest contender, PH’s Karmaine Sardini of 10,380 votes.

The four other contenders — Gerakan’s Wendy Subramaniam (1,707 votes), Berjasa’s Datuk Dr Badrulhisham Abdul Aziz of Berjasa (850), and two independent candidates Dr Ang Chuan Lock (380) and Faridah Aryani Abdul Ghaffar (32), lost their deposits for securing less than one-eighths or 12.5% of the total votes.

With 27 polling centres, the ninth byelection of the 14th Parliament had recorded a 74.4% voter turnout, surpassing the 70% target of the Election Commission (EC).

EC chairman Datuk Azhar Azizan Harun said the voter turnout was the second highest after the Rantau state legislative assembly seat, where the percentage turnout was 79.31%.

“I feel it is a good achievement and I congratulate the secretariat for being able to exceed the targeted percentage of voter turnout.

“Congratulations also to the media for having assisted us to urge voters to come out and cast their votes,” he told Bernama at the vote tallying centre in Pontian on Saturday.

The voting and tallying processes went smoothly without serious incidents despite the slight inconvenience caused by supporters of different political parties in several voting stations.

Commenting on the results, BN president Datuk Seri Dr Ahmad Zahid Hamidi said the coalition’s Tanjung Piai victory as a whole shows the people are now rejecting the government of the day.”

“This is the people’s victory and is a clear signal from them. They are displaying their protest towards the current government,” he said at the Dewan Jubli Intan Sultan Ibrahim in Pontian after the results were announced.

Johor BN chief Datuk Hasni Mohammad said the win, through an MCA candidate, was a starting point for the coalition to uphold its principle of unity among its component parties.

“Yes, I believe the win will be an encouragement for Johor BN in facing the upcoming 15th General Election (GE15). We will uphold this concept,” he said, adding that the by-election result was a message for the government of the day to take note of the people’s interest.

“We as the Opposition will represent the rakyat and also those who are downtrodden,” he said.

Opposition leader Datuk Seri Ismail Sabri Yaakob urged the government to dissolve Parliament and call for fresh elections as it has lost the people’s confidence. The Umno VP said the by-election was a referendum on the ruling pact, and its result showed that the people reject PH.

“This is not the first time they are rejecting PH. We have seen it happen in the Cameron Highlands, Semenyih and Rantau by-elections. Their majority losses have increased from over 3,000 in Cameron Highlands to 15,000 in Tanjung Piai. The government has no choice but to dissolve Parliament,” he said in a statement yesterday.

Meanwhile, Sembrong MP, Umno’s Datuk Seri Hishamuddin Hussein reminded BN on complacency despite the victory of the Tanjung Piai by-election.

The former Umno VP said the coalition must self-reflect and spare no effort to gain public support.

“I remind everybody that we should not be arrogant as this is Tanjung Piai. We still have a lot of work to do to convince the public that BN is back on the right track,” he said in Pontian on Saturday. He added that the landslide victory reflects the solidarity among the three component parties of the coalition.

From the defeated team, PH president Datuk Seri Dr Wan Azizah Wan Ismail said the ruling coalition respected and accepted the voters’ decision on the parliamentary by-election.

The deputy prime minister said PH will strive towards improving all weaknesses and learn lessons from its fourth loss in the by-election.

“Yes, the people have spoken. We respect and accept their decision and will try to improve our weaknesses,” she said after launching the Deepavali Open House 2019 in Ipoh on Saturday.

PKR president Datuk Seri Anwar Ibrahim also admitted the defeat was a clear message from the people to the PH administration.

“The majority that the Opposition has won was a shock to the entire PH leadership. We should learn something from this loss,” he said, reminding party leaders to regain the people’s confidence by striving to fulfil their promises.

Parti Pribumi Bersatu Malaysia (PPBM) president Tan Sri Muhyiddin Yassin said following this loss, PH needs to go back to the drawing board to evaluate the party’s approach and performance which have contributed to the people’s grouses.

Veteran politician, DAP’s Lim Kit Siang described PH’s defeat at the by-election as a “devastating result” and took note of the people’s frustrations with the ruling coalition’s slow reforms. He promised that they would urgently review its implementation.

“This will be the first agenda of DAP and PH after the Tanjung Piai by-election.

“The devastating Tanjung Piai by-election result has given greater urgency and importance to the review of the pace and implementation of the reforms promised by PH, especially those contained in ‘Buku Harapan’ in the GE14 manifesto, for which the PH presidential council had established a special review committee,” he said in a statement.

PPBM Youth chief Syed Saddiq Syed Abdul Rahman said the loss was a bitter pill to swallow. The MP for Muar said the people had spoken and their anger must be addressed.

“My sincerest apologies to Malaysian youth for my shortcomings,” he said in a statement.

Meanwhile, PH VP Datuk Seri Salahuddin Ayub yesterday said the party’s defeat and the people’s dissatisfaction towards the government will be discussed in the presidential council meeting scheduled this week.

Salahuddin attributed PH’s loss, among others, to the party’s weak social media presence in disseminating information to the kampung people.