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Najib Razak and the BN won bragging rights in Hulu Selangor. A win is a win. The BN had the advantage up-front with its machinery and resources for this large semi-rural constituency and it used these effectively.

To date, the focus has been on BN’s use of financial incentives to woo voters. This has been a long honed practice, especially in the rural areas. It is nothing new, and part of any by-election. To understand the dynamics on the ground, one has to look further.

To attribute Najib’s victory on money politics obscures important transformations taking place within the BN. The use of ethnic politics and new messaging underscored the BN’s campaign. The BN’s efforts may have helped secure a win, but the long term points worryingly to further political challenges...

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