PETALING JAYA: While defeat in Tanjung Piai was expected, what was shocking was the extent of the loss, says Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad in his first statement since last Saturday’s by-election.
The Prime Minister said there was a need for a thorough post-mortem to identify reasons for Pakatan Harapan’s crushing loss.
“A detailed, serious and honest post-mortem must be made at all levels to find out the real reason for the defeat, ” he said in a statement yesterday.
The Pakatan chairman said he expected the Opposition to win by a 2,000-vote majority, adding that the eventual 15,086-vote margin was beyond his imagination.
“I take note of the results. I accept the results made by the people of Tanjung Piai, ” said the Parti Pribumi Bersatu Malaysia chairman as he thanked those who worked hard throughout the by-election.
The Tanjung Piai by-election saw Barisan Nasional’s Datuk Seri Dr Wee Jeck Seng won with an overwhelming 15,086-vote majority.
Wee garnered 25,466 votes against Pakatan’s candidate Karmaine Sardini (10,380), Gerakan’s Wendy Subramaniam (1,707), Berjasa’s Datuk Dr Badhrulhisham Abdul Aziz (850), and two independents, Dr Ang Chuan Lock (380) and Faridah Aryani Abdul Ghaffar (32).In a separate statement, Economic Affairs Minister Datuk Seri Azmin Ali said lessons from defeats were more enduring than those from victory.
“This is not the time for Pakatan members and leaders to take potshots at each other, or take advantage of the situation to challenge the coalition’s leadership.
“Any attacks on the leadership will only continue to weaken Pakatan and its effectiveness in governing the country, ” he said.
He added that this was the time to unite and face a new reality, saying the defeat was a challenge to each and every member and leader of Pakatan to prove they could work together as a team.
“We need to show the people that the government remains committed to the mandate given by the people, ” said Azmin, adding that the government would redouble its commitment and efforts to regain the people’s confidence.
He also conceded that not everything Pakatan “thinks is best for the people is necessarily right”.
“We need to recognise that what we think is best for the rakyat may not be necessarily so. We must therefore put our finger on the pulse of the rakyat and listen carefully and earnestly of their concerns, ” he said.
Johor Mentri Besar Datuk Dr Sahruddin Jamal also echoed Azmin’s sentiments, saying the defeat should not be used as a weapon to point fingers at each other.
Sahruddin, who was Pakatan’s Tanjung Piai by-election director, said both the state and federal governments had done their best throughout the campaign period, and now was the time to improve on the weaknesses.
“I don’t think there are (people blaming me) because this is a collective effort between the state and federal governments.
“We have done the best for Tanjung Piai but the people have spoken and we have to accept it, ” he said after the opening ceremony of the Johor Indian Muslim Entrepreneurs Association in Johor Baru yesterday.
Dr Sahruddin said both the state and federal governments should also reflect on whether they still wanted to be given the mandate to lead the country in the next general election.
When asked about the allegation that Johor failed to address the cost of living issues, he said the matter was a nationwide problem, and that Johor had given its utmost.
“We have rolled out our 10 promises in our manifesto, and in my view, we gave our best to ensure that we win the by-election, ” he said.