AYER KEROH: After 12 days of intense campaigning, Barisan Nasional has managed to score a landslide victory as it returned to form the Melaka state government by winning 21 of the 28 seats.
Barisan took the last remaining seat of Pengkalan Batu when the result was announced at 11.23pm, making its win a comfortable margin, crushing Pakatan Harapan, which took five seats and Perikatan Nasional which won only two.
This means that the Melaka state government will be led by Barisan with more than a two-thirds majority in the state assembly.
Pakatan managed to retain its DAP seats of Ayer Keroh, Kota Laksamana, Kesidang and Bandar Hilir while its chief minister-candidate Adly Zahari won in Bukit Katil with 1,057 majority votes.
Perikatan’s two seats were secured in Sungai Udang and Bemban.
It was a tight race, as seen in the unofficial results that trickled in via Pakatan’s Facebook page beginning 6pm yesterday.
Early results showed Perikatan, Barisan and Pakatan engaged in close fights at Kelebang, Bemban, Machap Jaya and Tanjung Bidara,
The Tanjung Bidara seat was a nail-biter, as it wasn’t a walk in the park for state Umno chief Datuk Seri Ab Rauf Yusof, who made his debut as a state assembly candidate in a three-cornered fight against deputy de facto Law Minister Datuk Mas Ermieyati Samsudin and Pakatan’s Zainal Hassan.
Rauf emerged the winner, securing a majority 364 votes.
Tanjung Bidara has traditionally been an Umno stronghold, and Datuk Seri Najib Razak has been working the ground since the beginning of the month before Nomination Day on Nov 8.
Barisan component party MCA appeared to be making inroads in Melaka after it managed to seize Kelebang and Machap Jaya.
In Kelebang, Deputy International Trade and Industry Minister Datuk Lim Ban Hong made a comeback after garnering 5,028 votes against Pakatan’s Datuk Gue Teck and Perikatan’s Bakri Jamaluddin in a three-cornered fight.
Lim became Kelebang assemblyman in 2013 after he garnered 9,171 votes against DAP’s 7,074 votes.
He lost the seat in 2018 to PKR’s Datuk Gue Teck, getting 6,859 votes against Gue’s 7,648 votes.
At Barisan’s operations centre in Ayer Keroh, the mood was celebratory as the results trickled in.
Party supporters, mostly clad in blue, were heard shouting “Hidup Barisan” and “Malu Apa Bossku” as unofficial results were slowly announced.
Both Prime Minister Datuk Seri Ismail Sabri Yaakob and Barisan advisory board chairman Najib and MCA president Datuk Seri Dr Wee Ka Siong, were mobbed by party supporters.
The mood was similar to the Tanjung Piai by-election in 2019 where the Barisan war room in Pontian Baru were filled with chants of “Hidup Barisan”.
Reporters had begun to wait at the Barisan war room by 6pm.
Over at Pakatan’s operations centre in La Crista Hotel, the leaders were holed up in a hall where reporters were not allowed to enter.
The mood was sombre, unlike its previous by-elections when Pakatan’s operations centre would be opened to the press.
Universiti Teknologi Malaysia political analyst Prof Dr Azmi Hassan said PKR’s total defeat in all 11 state seats was probably due to its lack of cooperation with DAP.
Azmi noted that DAP was still upset with PKR and Amanah for accepting former chief minister Datuk Seri Idris Haron and Datuk Nor Azman Hassan who contested under Pakatan’s banner in Asahan and Pantai Kundor respectively.
“This is the main reason why PKR lost all the seats they contested,” he said.
Azmi also regarded Barisan’s performance as a landslide victory, and PAS would definitely reconsider its alliance with Perikatan.
“It looks good for them (Barisan) and in GE15, PAS will be in a dire situation whereby they will go back to the Muafakat Nasional alliance with Umno,” added Azmi.
DAP leaders had been particularly vocal against the prospects of Pakatan accepting the assemblymen who triggered the collapse of the state government.
Previously, Idris led three assemblymen – Nor Azman, Datuk Norhizam Baktee and Datuk Noor Effandi Ahmad – who withdrew support for the Perikatan state government, triggering its collapse.
Eventually, Idris was accepted as a PKR member and Nor Azman as an Amanah member
In the 13th General Election in 2013, Barisan managed to retain the Melaka state government after winning 21 seats against the former Pakatan Rakyat coalition which only managed to get seven seats.
However, during the 14th General Election in 2018, Barisan lost the state government after it only managed to win 13 seats against Pakatan’s slim 15.
The state government led by Pakatan was eventually toppled in March 2020 following the defection of Norhizam and Jailani.
It was replaced by a Perikatan government led by Umno’s Datuk Seri Sulaiman Md Ali.
On Oct 4 this year, Idris and the three other assemblymen retracted support for the Barisan/Perikatan state government. The Melaka state assembly was dissolved on Oct 5.