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Penanti: After the voting is done, what do they say ..

Posted by amkpermatangpauh on June 2, 2009

(Suara Keadilan) – On Sunday, Pakatan Rakyat steamrolled over three Independent candidates to win 85 percent of the 7,100 votes cast in the Penanti by-election.

While the contest was labelled a dull affair without the traditional pomp and intense competition from arch rival Umno-BN, the most important point was fulfilled. Voters got to exercise their democratic rights.

The rest, while fun and a boon to the town’s economy, are nevertheless not the vital organs needed to keep Malaysia alive and safe from being systematically turned into a dictatorial regime.

As Umno-BN supporters were instructed to boycott the vote, the turnout on polling day was a very low 46 percent.

Nevertheless, the Pakatan candidate Mansor Othman secured 6,052 votes to win with a 5,558 majority.

Umno-BN has rushed to scorn the poor turnout, for which it was responsible to a large extent, capitalising on the Pakatan’s inability to hit an internal target of securing 7,000 votes.

This was the level the coalition of PKR, DAP and PAS had obtained in the March 8, 2008 general election, when the turnout was 82 percent, and where Umno obtained 5,000 votes, losing to the Pakatan by 2,219 votes.

On May 31, 2009, although the turnout nearly halved to 46 percent – thanks to Umno’s boycott-  the Pakatan still managed to sweep 6,052 votes.

This was more than 85 percent of its 7,000 internal target. Its majority also more than doubled to 5,558.

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Suara Keadilan appends below the reactions from analysts and politicians made in various media following the Pakatan win.

Sivamurugan Pandian, professor at Universiti Sains Malaysia
Although it is not good for the election process, this lower turnout, and PKR did not achieve the target voter turnout of between 65 to 70 per cent, the higher majority they got did indicate that their supporters came out in full force to vote as compared to the last general election.

BN has to evaluate the strategy used by PKR, who managed to bring out their hardcore supporters in bigger numbers compared to before. During the last election, PKR had won the state seat partly due to the swing from the BN supporters to it, which gave Fairus Khairuddin, its candidate then, almost a 2,000 majority. In this election, however, it is clear that the votes were from their own hardcore supporters.

Oh Ei Sun, political analyst
To some degree there was a contest, but basically it’s a walkover. Both the Pakatan and BN can interpret it any way they want but basically it is meaningless. We thought that the Independents were insignificant all this while, but they did manage to get some votes. This has raised some questions and showed that PKR needs to have better coordination between their national, state and local leaders and look at internal party sentiments.

From the Pakatan Rakyat

Mansor Othman, newly-crowned Penanti assemblyman
I will seek guidance from my two leaders, Anwar and Penang Chief Minister Lim Guan Eng.

Anwar Ibrahim, Opposition Leader
In the past 14 months, the voters have faced an election three times. Despite this, they have not wavered from supporting Pakatan Rakyat’s agenda for change. The results show that justice is still supported by the people.

Hopefully, Mansor will honour the trust they have placed in him by working hard to serve the people. I feel proud with the result we achieved. Although we faced the challenge of independent candidates, we still managed a commendable win.

Lim Guan Eng, Penang Chief Minister
I welcome the fact that a capable leader with excellent academic qualification will assist me in governing the state.

Lim Kit Siang, DAP adviser
I call on the prime minister to review his policies.

Azmin Ali, vice-president PKR
We are preparing ourselves for state elections to be held very soon in Perak and also in Sarawak. From the information we gathered, they have no other options but to go back to the people to get a new mandate (in Perak),” Azmin told The Malaysian Insider at the sidelines of the Penanti victory celebrations.

I believe they will call state elections immediately after the decision of the federal court because they do not want the anger in Perak to spill over to other states in the next general election.That is their strategy. Our strategy is for all parties in Pakatan to start working and strengthen our position to be one united formidable force and this is the better option for all Malaysians.”

It is about our promise to the rakyat. Our representatives must deliver, must work hard once they are elected. If they don’t perform, we don’t hesitate to remove them. We are willing to go back to the people, let the people decide. We want the best representative to represent the rakyat.

From the Umno-BN

Arif Shah Omar Shah, Seberang Jaya assemblyman
PKR did nothing for Penanti for the last one year, yet we could not go down to defend it. Permatang Pauh Umno has to take stock and revamp our machinery.

Teng Hock Nan, Penang Gerakan chairman

In today’s politics, independents actually have no place, unless they are very much liked by the people. Independents by-large are politics of yesterday and if you win against them, it actually doesn’t mean anything.

Muhyiddin Yassin, Umno deputy president and DPM

The candidate who won – his votes were lower than the previous candidate’s. If they were able get 7,000 votes previously, they should have been able to get 10,000 or more. I hope PKR won’t say that they are that great but they should show that without any candidates from BN, their vote counts should have had a higher percentage.

The voters are knowledgeable enough and they are very qualified to make whatever assessments on whether the opposition were telling the truth or not. They campaigned not on what they want to do for the good of the electorate but more on what BN is doing. I think the signal is quite clear that the voters are fed-up. I do hope the PKR leadership will take a serious cue from the result of this by-election.

Najib Razak, Umno president and PM
It is not a victory to be proud of. A win against independent candidates is not an absolute win – something that one can be proud of.

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