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Wednesday, March 26, 2014

Kajang: Nothing much to shout about

For both Pakatan and BN, it is a case of 'win some, lose some'.
Wan Azizah KajangThe Kajang by-election has been concluded on March 23, 2014, with PKR’s president, Dr Wan Azizah Wan Ismail emerging victorious as predicted by the form book. She managed to obtain 16,741 votes to defeat MCA’s vice-president Chew Mei Fun who garnered 11,362 votes.
Wan Azizah’s majority of 5,379 votes is lower than the majority obtained by PKR’s former state assemblyman, Lee Chin Cheh who won by a majority of 6,824 votes in the 13th General Election held on May 5 last year.
The voter turnout in Kajang was also a lowly 72% compared to 88% in GE13.
Overall the mood in Kajang was dull. Except for the last night of campaigning whereby big dinners were held by both BN and Pakatan Rakyat (PR), there was no great excitement in Kajang.
The reason for this subdued mood is that regardless of whoever wins, the situation in the Selangor state legislative assembly still remains as status quo. Some voters were also angry that they were forced to vote due to what they perceived as a weak reason.
Although PKR obtained less votes this time around, in actual fact their overall percentage of votes obtained had increased from 57% to 59%.
This time too, MCA has seen an improvement in the Chinese votes obtained which have increased from 18% last year to 25% this year. On the other hand, the Malay votes and the Indian votes for PKR have seen a very slight increase too.
Therefore for both Pakatan and BN, it is a case of ‘win some, lose some’.
However the talk of the town in Kajang is the swing in the Chinese vote towards BN which has MCA feeling quite pleased with the polls result.
Why did the Chinese swing towards BN?
This columnist who had been conducting surveys in Kajang prior to polling day had expected that this time around, MCA would gain more Chinese votes and had informed friends and leaders in Pakatan of the same.
This swing by the Chinese is due to three issues: traffic congestion, inefficient garbage collection and the water ration.
The Chinese voters see that no effort has been made to lessen the problems pertaining to these three issues since the 2008 general election.
One has to take note that in the Sungai Limau by-election held in November last year, which was won by PAS, the Chinese voters there too had shifted a little towards BN. This happens when the problems in their locality remain unsolved from year 2008 to post-GE13.
A little jolt
Although the Chinese vote swing is not major, it is still a shift and the purpose is to tell Pakatan not to be too complacent by taking things for granted.
The Chinese support for Pakatan is still strong but they do not want Pakatan to sit on their laurels and taking their job in an easy manner. Hence, a little jolt for Pakatan from the Chinese.
Some Chinese also felt that while they have borne the brunt of what can be said as BN’s ‘unhelpfulness’ post-GE13, Pakatan leaders also do not seem to speak up for the Chinese.
While MCA has every right to be happy with the Kajang result, it does not mean that the Chinese are finally on the road towards returning to BN. No, it does not indicate that at all.
This columnist is not in denial mode and the fact has to be acknowledged that there is definitely a slight Chinese swing towards BN.
However this columnist is of the view that the Chinese swing towards BN in the last two by-elections is at this point in time done to serve as a warning bell to Pakatan lawmakers to start performing in their job.
If Pakatan lawmakers do not take these early warnings as a sign to improve, some Chinese votes will certainly swing to BN in the next general election.
Therefore it is good for Pakatan leaders that these warning bells are sounded early so that they will not get a rude awakening later.
Pakatan Rakyat has been warned and must not take things lightly for the consequences will be severe in GE14.
As for now, both sides of the political divide have nothing much to shout about after the Kajang polls.
The lesson learnt from here is that in order to win votes, one must work hard and pay heed to the people’s voice and grouses. No lawmaker can afford to ignore the people’s voice.
Selena Tay is a FMT columnist.

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