BARISAN Nasional candidate Datuk Mah Siew Keong has finally retaken his old Teluk Intan seat after being declared the winner of the parliamentary by-election.
For Barisan, it is more than just a win. It is also an indication of a return of Chinese support to the Barisan fold.
Mah, who won with a 238-vote majority, beating DAP’s Dyana Sofya Mohd Daud, also won in Chinese majority areas like Batu 12 which was won by the DAP in the general election last year.
Barisan saw a huge improvement in the Chinese majority areas of Batu 12, Anson Road and Pasir Bedamar Barat which MCA was entrusted to taking care of in this by election.
The ruling coalition won in Batu 12, garnering 53% of the votes against 29% in the general election last year. Barisan also performed better in Pasir Bedamar Barat, winning 34.5% of the votes in against 19% in the last round. In Anson Road, it had 44.5%, up from 35%.
When the results were announced at 9.33pm last night, Mah polled 20,157 votes against Dyana’s 19,919.
Throughout the almost two week-long campaigning period, there have been signs that the people had chosen development and want pending problems related to infrastructure to be resolved.
The semi-rural constituency with 60,000 plus voters appeared to be assessing what the DAP had managed to bring to them since the 2008 general election.
It has been six years now and they can certainly tell the difference.
Prior to that, Mah was their MP for two terms from 1999 to 2008.
MCA deputy president Datuk Dr Wee Ka Siong saw the improvement as also sign of returning confidence of the Chinese in Barisan.
“The Chinese are looking at the larger picture.” he said.
As another MCA leader put it: “The Chinese are pragmatic voters. They are convinced who can bring good to the people in the next three years or more”.
A political observer said the candidates’ race, with Dyana Sofya being a Malay, may not likely be a deciding factor.
Nevertheless, the observer believed that DAP’s evasiveness over the move by PAS, its Pakatan Rakyat ally, to push for hudud, has resulted in some Chinese voters swinging to Barisan.
Like it or not, PAS has been adamant in pushing to table its Private Member’s Bills in Parliament in September to amend the Federal Constitution to pave the way to implement hudud in Kelantan.
And PAS has never once been seen to be swaying from its ultimate aim – to form an Islamic state and implement its brand of hudud.
DAP, by fielding a Malay candidate, also compounded the Chinese community’s worry over the PAS stand.
In fact, nobody could tell for sure what Dyana Sofya would possibly do in Parliament if and when PAS tables its Private Members Bill.
Apparently, the 26-year-old Dyana was said to be inconsistent in her stand on hudud during her campaigning rounds.
According to Barisan campaigners, she told the Chinese that she would follow DAP’s stand when the PAS’ hudud Bill is tabled.
To her Malay-Muslim audience, however, she had allegedly said she was not against hudud.
An air of uncertainty is never good for an election candidate, what more over an issue which is highly sensitive and of grave concern to the voters.
This is a lesson for the DAP.
To the Barisan, it is also a time for reflection as its majority win in Teluk Intan is slim. Still, a win is a win in democracy.