Malaysiakini Letter

Dr Wan Azizah wins convincingly, or has she?

Karamjit Gill  |  Published:  |  Modified:

The Permatang Pauh by-election was by far the most intriguing by-election in recent times since the Hulu Selangor by-election in 2010. Once the finishing bells rung and scorecards were totalled, PKR’s Dr Wan Azizah Wan Ismail emerged victorious once again in the battle of giants.

The opposition BN supporters (BN is the opposition in Penang) are bravely putting on a happy face and yapping about the 3,000-vote reduced majority that Wan Azizah obtained. I cannot seem to figure out what they mean.

It was reported that 53,145 votes were cast. Of this, Dr Wan Azizah secured 30,316 votes (57.04 percent) while BN’s Suhaimi Sabudin obtained 21,475 votes (40.41 percent). Anwar Ibrahim had 58.6 percent while Mazlan Ismail from BN obtained 40.1 percent of the votes in the last general election. We need to look at the percentages rather than absolute numbers due to the poor turnout for the by-election. What reduced majority are they talking about?

They are definitely weak in numbers and maybe that is the reason some of them are suggesting a pardon for a paedophile who is apparently good in mathematics.

Pakatan has every reason to celebrate this victory because BN went gung-ho during the campaign for this by-election. While enjoying the fruits of success, we must not let our guard down.

With the BN-led government being plagued with issues like the 1Malaysia Development Berhad (1MDB), new jet, the Goods and Services Tax (GST) that burdens the rakyat, soaring national debts and Dr Mahathir Mohamad’s continuous ranting, 21 thousand plus people still voted for Barisan Nasional. These 21 thousand people are people from Penang, the Pakatan fortress. With the problems ongoing in BN, we should have given them a thrashing.

What worries me is that Pakatan did not have a plan going into this by-election. There was no manifesto from Pakatan. We quivered at the notion of poor voter turnout. The situation was quite intense until in one of the campaigns, Dr Wan Azizah shed tears while speaking about her grandchildren. The last thing we need is to rely on sympathy all the time.

Twenty-one plus thousand people in Permatang Pauh has outrightly rejected family politics. They don’t want puppets. Can we conclude that 21 thousand people in our donjon (the castle’s innermost keep) have rejected Anwar Ibrahim? Maybe we need to start nurturing young blood for the next general election.

Kak Wan’s victory is not so resounding that we can rest on our laurels. What if by the time the next general election ensues, miraculously BN resolves most of its problems? We all know GST is a very good system that is poorly implemented in Malaysia. More than half the world has already implemented GST with India tabling it soon. What if they finally get GST right and the country benefits from it come next election?

What if Mahathir’s battery wears out before the next GE? What are we going to rely on then?

We need to stop only looking for weaknesses in our opponent and start relying more on our strengths.

Infighting needs a resolution

The ugly side to PKR and PAS infighting needs a resolution as soon as possible. Our vision of winning in East Malaysia is currently in tatters, with both PKR and DAP severing ties with PAS. PAS is an allergen that periodically causes harm.

They are like little children stubbornly spreading extremism that the majority of the country rejects. They are like black sheep in the Pakatan coalition. They open their arms to every other BN defector despite non-endorsement from PKR and DAP.

I strongly suggest that Gobind Singh Deo, Azmin Ali and Rafizi Ramli should re-evaluate their relationship with PAS. It is not worth entering the battlefield with obsolete machinery. PAS can form a coalition with Perkasa and we will be better off without them.

Pakatan has won the support of the people again. This is just a small battle in which we triumphed. We still have the war of Putrajaya within sights. Throw nepotism and family politics out of the window. Shy away from extremism. Should the need arise, embark on a Pakatan Baru journey. Let us continue to strive forward with integrity.

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