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Biggest factor for BN's win: Ramli the Orang Asli, says IDE

Malaysiakini  |  Published:  |  Modified:

The main factor that helped BN's win in the Cameron Highlands by-election yesterday was its candidate, said Selangor government think tank Institut Darul Ehsan (IDE).

It said their analysis on the election showed that BN did the right thing by fielding a candidate that represents the voter demographics - 55 percent are from the Malay and Orang Asli areas (34 percent Malay plus 21 percent Orang Asli and others).

"BN also used the strategy of promoting the candidate who would become the first Orang Asli representative in the Parliament if he wins. He was not linked as an Umno candidate.

"Pragmatic approach by switching the traditionally Indian seat to Orang Asli had also brought success in this by-election," IDE said in a statement released today.

On Saturday, BN candidate Ramli Mohd Nor was announced as the by-election's winner after he bagged a total of 12,038 votes to beat his three opponents.

Ramli, who is also a retired senior police officer, won with a majority of 3,238 votes over his closest contender M Manogaran from Pakatan Harapan. Independent candidates Wong Seng Yee and Sallehudin Ab Talib garnered 276 votes and 314 votes respectively.

According to IDE, BN managed to leverage on several issues in the by-election, including the blunders committed by Harapan throughout the campaign period.

It listed the "kuih Orang Asli" comment made by Manogaran (photo) and Senator Bob Manolan's remarks during a meeting with Orang Asli leaders as among the issues. Others included polemic on money politics and DAP's deputy minister Tengku Zulpuri Raja Puji's response to the issue pertaining to misuse of government assets for campaigning. 

IDE said BN also managed to retain major support from voters in the Jelai state constituency, which the institute described as BN's vote bank in the 14th general election.

They also managed to increase the number of votes in Jelai due to support given by PAS members, it added.

However, IDE said that while Umno managed to win all voting districts where Malays are the majority, their analysis also revealed that there were many "traditional and hardcore PAS supporters" who did not cast their votes in the election.

Using the GE14 result as the basis of their finding, the institute claimed that PAS supporters decided not to vote because they did not want to vote for BN.

Meanwhile, the analysis also pointed out several factors that led to Harapan receiving a lower number of votes, especially in the Tanah Rata state constituency.

"Harapan or DAP managed to maintain their vote percentage pattern as in the GE14... (However) the percentage of voters turnout in the constituency was found to have decreased to below 70 percent, with some voting districts saw below 60 percent, especially those where the majority are Chinese or mixed.

"There are several scenarios that contributed to this, including the polling being close to the upcoming Chinese New Year, causing around 20 percent of outstation voters not returning to cast their votes," it said.

IDE said there are also voters who did not vote in protest of farming and foreign worker issues in Cameron Highlands, while some others believed that the by-election would not bring much change at both state and federal levels.

The institute claimed that some voters in Tanah Rata also did not cast their votes as they were busy working and trying to gain as much income from "election tourists", while there were senior citizen voters in the Chinese community who did not go out to vote as their children did not return home to take them to the polling stations.

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