KUALA LUMPUR: The impending Tanjung Piai by-election could spell victory for Barisan Nasional following a survey stating that Pakatan Harapan’s support had decreased to only 35%, says Opposition leader Datuk Seri Ismail Sabri Yaakob,
This was because Barisan’s defeat in the Tanjung Piai parliamentary seat in GE14 was only due to a marginal 524 votes in the three-cornered fight, he said.
“If it is a straight fight, our chance of winning is bigger. However, it is still too early for us to draw a conclusion.
“But based on the research, it looks good for us, ” he told reporters when met at the Parliament lobby on Monday (Oct 7).
The Umno vice president also pointed out that during Barisan’s victories in three previous by-elections – Rantau, Semenyih and Cameron Highlands – Pakatan’s approval rating among Malaysians was probably at 50%.
“If the approval ratings really dropped to 35%, I believe that our chance to win in Tanjung Piai is good, ” he added.
Ismail said Barisan hasn’t shortlisted candidates for the Tanjung Piai polls as it is still determining which party should take on the by-election.
“We are still conducting studies at the grassroots level in terms of acceptance by the people. Most importantly, it’s not about who will contest, but the one who contests must win.
“Our bottom line is to win, ” he said, adding that the final decision over which party would contest the seat will be decided by Barisan’s supreme council.
Last Sunday (Oct 6), Malaysiakini, quoting sources, reported that Pakatan lawmakers were shocked to find out that the coalition will contest the by-election with its popular support falling to 35% as of August.
The survey, conducted by independent pollster Merdeka Center, was presented at a two-day retreat involving Pakatan backbenchers in a hotel in Shah Alam.
The Tanjung Piai seat fell vacant after the death of its MP Datuk Dr Md Farid Md Rafik on Sept 21 from complications following a heart attack.
Md Farid, 42, who was also Tanjung Piai Parti Pribumi Bersatu Malaysia (Bersatu) division vice-chief, won the seat in the last general election after beating MCA's Wee Jeck Seng and PAS' Nordin Othman with a majority of 524 votes.
Tanjung Piai was a traditional MCA seat before it was seized by Bersatu in GE14.
The seat is made up of about 57% Malay voters, 42% Chinese voters, and one per cent Indian voters.