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COMMENT | The Kuala Kubu Bharu by-election is over. As the dust settled, many have offered their interpretations of the results, with both sides claiming gains among different communities.

I argue that the outcome is a Cadmean victory, damaging both sides.

Drawing from a detailed analysis of the polling station results using multiple social identity lenses (ethnicity, age and class) to estimate voting and fieldwork, this piece both confirms and challenges reported interpretations to date.

The findings suggest that while the overall result was the status quo, with DAP/Pakatan Harapan retaining the seat, Kuala Kubu Baharu’s voting patterns point to worrying trends.

Across both coalitions, Harapan and Perikatan Nasional deficits in support continued, as ethnic political polarisation deepened. Fewer voters came out/back to vote, especially younger voters, pointing to less enthusiasm for all of the electoral alternatives.

Harapan secured its win primarily due to its better machinery and incumbent advantage. This was a luxury that was possible during a by-election when resources and party personnel were concentrated.

With overdue promises of development in a neglected... 

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