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After dust settles on Rantau polls, trolling and friendly fire emerge

Malaysiakini  |  Published:  |  Modified:

Saturday's Rantau by-election saw acting Umno chairperson Mohamad Hasan trouncing Pakatan Harapan candidate Dr S Streram. This is the third consecutive defeat for the ruling coalition.

Following this, various quarters have shared their views on the matter.

Among them was Human Resources Minister M Kulasegaran, who courted brickbats for his call for Indian voters to back Streram based on the latter's race. 

He also told his audience that when he frequents Rantau, he prefers to eat in Indian restaurants, as opposed to those operated by other races.

So when he commented on how Mohamad's majority reduced by 103 votes compared to the 2013 general election, Rembau lawmaker Khairy Jamaluddin could not resist trolling him.

The Umno man tweeted: “Makan kat mana hari ini, YB (Where are you eating today?)"

Earlier, Kulasegaran posted: “While BN’s winning majority of 4,510 in the Rantau by-election might look large, it was actually a reduced majority compared to its 2013 general election winning majority of 4,613.”

As for the restaurant gaffe, Kulasegaran has since explained that he does not indulge in gastronomical discrimination.

'Take your head out of the sand'

Meanwhile, the outcome of the polls also saw PKR member Latheefa Koya lashing out at the party's Kedah chief Johari Abdul, who is close to president Anwar Ibrahim and vice-president Rafizi Ramli.

Latheefa, aligned to PKR deputy president Mohamed Azmin Ali, tweeted: “Take your head out of the sand, stop the ostrich mentality.”

“This is the kind of blind-to-reality attitude that brought down BN. Politics is about listening to the people, not about pandering to one’s ego,” she added.

Latheefa, who is also the executive director of Lawyers for Liberty, was responding to Johari's comment that the BN and PAS alliance failed to boost Mohamad's position.

He said this is because the acting Umno president's majority was almost the same during the 2013 general election.

Johari also argued that the outcome cannot be used as a benchmark to state that support for Harapan has dwindled.

'Stop governing from election to election'

On a more serious note, former Bar Council chairperson Ambiga Sreenevasan said the government must make the right decisions even if it meant losing the elections.

“We need to stop governing from election to election. Next election is in four years!” she tweeted.

Ambiga was commenting on Penang Deputy Chief Minister II P Ramasamy's statement that the results of the last three by-elections showed that Harapan's popularity cannot be taken for granted.

The DAP leader said hard decisions must be made if Harapan is to remain relevant. 

He called for an in-depth study to determine the reasons for the coalition losing support not only among the Malays, but non-Malays as well.

Responding to Ambiga, former minister and Bersatu member Syed Hamid Albar (above) tweeted, “You can't ignore and alienate the feelings of the Malays as the majority.”

Another user Redza Ibrahim also disagreed with the former Bar Council chief.

“Sadly, we are living in a world of realpolitik and not idealism.

“Harapan needs to be in power in the next general election to ensure changes made now will not be undone. 

"The suburbanites will be angry, but the majority will shout victory. Education is a long process and five years is not enough,” he said.

In the last general election, Mohamad, who was a three-term Rantau assemblyperson, won the seat uncontested after the Election Commission barred Streram from filing his nomination papers.

Streram later filed an election petition and the courts ruled that a by-election be held.

 

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