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The two significant numbers to emerge from the recent Permatang Pauh by election are 13,388 and 15,671. The first is the majority achieved by Dr Wan Azizah Wan Ismail in the general election in March while the second is the majority achieved by Anwar in the Aug 26 by-election.

The larger majority is obviously significant for Anwar given that it was widely expected that his majority would decrease. But what else can we tell from the by-election results? Is there more to be gleaned from a careful investigation of the results at a more local level?

One of the more important questions leading up to the by-election was if Anwar would be able to maintain or even increase his support among the Malay voters in Permatang Pauh. There was a feeling that the sodomy accusations or the impression that he was giving in too much to the demands of the non-Malays within Pakatan Rakyat would cost him some Malay votes here.

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