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Significance of Balakong, Seri Setia by-elections

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MP SPEAKS | The results of the Balakong and Seri Setia by-elections in Selangor on Sept 8 will not change the Selangor state government but their importance and significance far outweigh the outcome of the two by-elections in the state.

In fact, they will be regarded as a barometer for Malaysian politics, not only in Selangor, but
throughout the country for the next few years.

It is an open secret that Umno leaders are working for an end to the Pakatan Harapan government in as short as two years, and the outcome of the two by-elections in Selangor will be used by the Umno leaders as a yardstick as to whether their plot and conspiracy to engineer the disintegration of the Harapan government before its current term
is a futile and even puerile one.

Umno president Ahmad Zahid Hamidi is on public record as saying in May after the Umno
supreme council meeting that he believed that the BN would be able to make a comeback.

Umno secretary-general Annuar Musa was more frank and forthright later when he said openly that the Harapan government would not last its current term, speculating that it would disintegrate in two years’ time.

But it was BN which disintegrated faster, in fact within a month of Zahid’s prognosis, and
nobody knows today whether BN exists or not, as both MCA and MIC - two of the three
remaining parties which have not openly declared quitting BN - are both quite ambivalent on this issue, as if they dare not quit BN without permission from Umno.

Umno has given permission MCA to use the MCA logo in the Balakong by-election, but this is a big step back to the past not a leap into the future.

However, Umno leaders are still plotting a comeback to Putrajaya, banking on the disintegration of Harapan in two years or at least before the 15th general election - and this is the reason for the politicking of the opposition parties in post-GE14, the unholy alliance between Umno and PAS, and
the uneven more unholy alliance between PAS and MCA with PAS president  Hadi Awang openly calling on PAS members to vote for the MCA candidate in the Balakong by-election.

The 100-Day issue will feature prominently in the two by-elections, whether Harapan has
succeeded to initiate long-awaited changes in Malaysian politics and system of governance.

More important than a report card of whether Harapan has fulfilled specific proposals in
100 days is whether the Malaysian ship of state had made a critical turn of direction from a trajectory of a failed, kleptocratic and kakistocratic state to a trajectory of greater national unity, integrity, democracy, rule of law and excellence, and whether the voters should use the two by-elections to give a ringing endorsement to Harapan to proceed with these changes and not to backtrack or to give the
opposition parties ammunition to block these changes.

MCA president Low Tiong Lai has given a “D” grade for Harapan’s first 100 Days in power,
remarkably similar to the mark given by the PAS deputy president, Tuan Ibrahim Tuan Man.

It was an act of remarkable audacity and insolence for Liow to pass such a judgment as Liow had led MCA to the worst electoral defeat in the party’s 69-year history, from a party at its height with four ministers, eight deputy ministers, 31 elected MPs and 76 state assemblypersons in the 2004 general election to a party with only zero minister, zero deputy minister, one parliamentary and two state assembly seats in the GE14. 

But what is even more startling is not just the convergence of grading for the 100 Days but the remarkable convergence of interests of MCA and PAS in the Balakong by-election, although PAS is stronger than MCA in Balakong as shown by the GE14 result where the PAS candidate, with 6,230 votes, beat the MCA candidate who polled only 5,874 votes, although both PAS and MCA candidates lost
their deposits with DAP’s Eddie Ng Tien Chee polling 41,768 votes.

There is an added reason for a high turnout of voters in Balakong - as a great send-off by the voters of Balakong for the exemplary service and dedication of Eddie Ng who was two-term assemblyperson for Balakong.

DAP and the people of Balakong had given Ng a heartfelt and great send-off during his funeral on his untimely passing, but there cannot be a greater send-off than a thunderous vote of appreciation to Ng than during the Balakong by-election, and endorsement of his replacement, the DAP/Harapan candidate, Wong Siew Ki.

I urge the voters of Balakong to come out in greater numbers on by-election polling day of Sept 8 than during the GE14 to make a vote for DAP/Harapan as a farewell vote for Ng.


LIM KIT SIANG is DAP MP for Iskandar Puteri.

The views expressed here are those of the author/contributor and do not necessarily represent the views of Malaysiakini.

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