Malaysiakini
OPINIONS

The clear messages from Cameron Highlands

P Gunasegaram

Published
Modified 29 Jan 2019, 3:02 am

QUESTION TIME | If the Pakatan Harapan coalition was in thinking and strategising mode instead of inter- and intra-party feuding, posturing and jostling for power and privilege, they may have been able to better see what was happening on the ground and prevented a bigger loss in the Cameron Highlands parliamentary by-election on Jan 26.

This seat was won by BN with a majority of just 547 votes in GE14 but this time around, BN’s majority widened considerably to 3,238 votes with Ramli Mohd Nor garnering 12,038 votes while the closest contender, Harapan’s DAP candidate M Manogaran, got 8,800 votes.

There are three strong messages that come out from this Cameron Highlands result. It is imperative that Harapan takes notice of these if they are to keep up their momentum and continue to fire the imagination of all sectors of the Malaysian public for change.

Even more importantly, coming up to nine months after achieving power, they need to start showing some results instead of bickering among themselves, and in the case of PKR, very tellingly within themselves, to show that they have the wherewithal to take this country decisively to a higher plane and keep going higher.

The first message is this - that an Umno and PAS alliance can be a strong galvanising force to unite Malays, especially in the clear absence of any party within Harapan to stake a solid claim to represent Malay interests.

It was a matter of time before Umno and PAS realised that and closed ranks. If Harapan had been in thinking mode, they would have long ago realised this and thought about it. But they needed this Cameron Highlands blast to jerk them out of their reverie, to sit up and take notice. They have lost valuable time.

The last general election results showed decisively that Bersatu, with its 13 parliamentary seats won, was nowhere near a replacement for Umno. Likewise, PAS defectors’ party Amanah, with 11 seats, was a poor shadow of PAS but it did much better relative to PAS than Bersatu relative to Umno.

It turns out that the party in Harapan which has the greatest amount of Malay and bumiputera support is the multi-racial PKR, which won 48 seats, twice that of Bersatu and Amanah combined...

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