GEORGE TOWN: DAP’s Ramkarpal Singh is the new Bukit Gelugor MP.
He polled 41,242 votes to beat his nearest opponent Parti Cinta Malaysia vice-president Datuk Huan Cheng Guan by a whopping majority of 37,659 votes in a four-cornered fight.
Huan secured 3,583 votes while two independent candidates – Mohamed Nabi Bux Mohd Nabi Abd Sathar and Abu Backer Sidek Mohd Zan – obtained 799 and 225 votes respectively.
All three lost their RM10,000 deposit after failing to secure one-eighth or 12.5% of the total votes cast. Returning officer Anuar Yahya said there were 539 spoilt votes.
Election Commission chairman Tan Sri Abdul Aziz Mohd Yusof said the turnout was 46,099 or 56.04% which is one of the lowest turnouts in the history of by-elections in the country.
He said the low turnout was probably due to the absence of Barisan Nasional in the contest.
The 46,099 voter turnout that he gave however did not tally with the total number of votes polled by the four candidates and spoilt votes given by Anuar which is 46,388.
When contacted about the difference, Penang EC deputy director Azizan Ahmad said the score sheet would be finalised later this week.
Of the 82,431 voters in the constituency, 74.33% or 61,267 are Chinese, followed by 14.45% Malay voters (11,913), 10.73% Indian voters (8,848) and 0.5% others (403).
Although Ramkarpal’s majority was lower than the 41,778 garnered by his father, the late Karpal Singh in the general election last year, he polled about 89% of the votes cast while Karpal got 79.1%.
The voter turnout last year was 70,554 or 86% of the then 82,042 voters. Karpal had polled 55,839 votes to beat Barisan’s Teh Beng Yeam who obtained 14,061 votes. Barisan had sat out yesterday’s by-election.
A jubilant Ramkarpal was hoisted by party supporters after the official result was announced at the tallying centre in Dewan Sri Pinang here last night.
He was accompanied by family members, DAP secretary-general and Penang Chief Minister Lim Guan Eng, PAS deputy president Mohamad Sabu, PAS National Unity Committee chairman Dr Mujahid Yusof Rawa and Penang DAP chairman Chow Kon Yeow.
After the celebration, a teary-eyed Ramkarpal said the victory was dedicated to his father.
“The most important thing as far as I am concerned, in this election, is my father, the late Karpal Singh. He is certainly an important part in this victory. I dedicate it entirely to him.
“I knew throughout the campaign, he was always with me. He was certainly part of this victory,” he told reporters inside the hall.
Ramkarpal also thanked those who voted for him. All his three opponents were not present at the tallying centre.
Huan told a press conference at his operations centre in Air Itam Road that he was happy to have reduced the majority and told the DAP not to blame it on the low voter turnout.
He said he was satisfied that he managed to almost double the number of votes that he received in the contest for the Batu Kawan parliamentary seat in the general election last year where he also lost his deposit after getting only 1,801 votes.
Huan denied that he received support from Umno, saying that he would have gotten more votes and retained his deposit if this was so.
When contacted, Mohamed Nabi said he had no regrets taking part in the by-election.
“Securing 799 votes in my maiden outing is good enough,’ he said, adding that he would consider contesting in future elections if there were sponsors. Abu Backer could not be reached for comment.