JOHOR BARU: The unity government has held on to its two-thirds majority in Parliament after Pakatan Harapan won the Pulai parliamentary by-election, maintaining the status quo of 148 out of the 222 seats.
Pakatan also managed to hold on to the Simpang Jeram state seat with a 3,514-vote majority.
However, its majority in Pulai plunged to 18,641 from 33,174 in the 15th General Election (GE15) in November last year.
Suhaizan Kayat got a total of 48,283 votes while Zulkifli Jaafar from Perikatan Nasional secured 29,642 votes.
In Simpang Jeram, Pakatan’s Nazri Abdul Rahman received 13,844 votes while Perikatan’s Dr Mohd Mazri Yahya got 10,330 votes.
Pakatan managed to get a bigger majority this time around compared with the 2,399-vote majority in the state elections in March last year.
Of the two Independent candidates, Samsudin Mohamad Fauzi only got 465 votes in Pulai and S. Jeganathan got 311 votes in Simpang Jeram. Both lost their deposits.
However, voter turnout in these two by-elections was as low as 47.33% in Pulai and 60.85% in Simpang Jeram.
In the last general election, voter turnout in Pulai was 71% and in the state polls, it was 53.4% in Simpang Jeram.
This is the first time Suhaizan has won an election after trying seven times.
Previously, he had contested in the two parliamentary seats of Simpang Renggam (2013) and Parit Sulong (2004), and in the state seats of Kempas (2008 and 2013), Kukup (2018) and Pulai Sebatang (2002).
When met after the results were announced, Suhaizan said he was grateful for the victory and for the support for the unity government.
“This is a big trust given to me by the voters and I would like to thank all of them, including the election machinery of both Pakatan and Barisan Nasional that helped us get this win.
“Even though my majority is more than 18,000, which is smaller than the previous one, it is still a convincing majority,” he added.
Zulkifli conceded and said he would continue to be an active voice for the people through the non-governmental organisation he leads.
“This is not the end for me. We have tried our best, and I am proud of what we have achieved in this election,” he said when thanking supporters and the election machinery at a gathering here last night.
Meanwhile Nazri, who is also Bakri Amanah deputy chief, said his victory has put an end to talk that Pakatan and Barisan’s cooperation was not accepted.
“I am very thankful to the voters for giving me a chance to serve them.
“As the Simpang Jeram assemblyman, I will try my best to fulfil the promises we made,” he said.
He added that the first thing he would do today was to meet his voters and thank them.
Umno vice-president Datuk Seri Mohamed Khaled Nordin said the “handsome victory” in the Pulai and Simpang Jeram seats showed that Bangsa Johor rejected extremist views.
“The victories in Pulai and Simpang Jeram are a strong message from the Johor people who clearly do not believe the claims and sentiments brought on by Perikatan in the six state elections before this.
“I believe this win will fight the wave from our opponents and strengthen the cooperation in the unity government, besides injecting a stronger spirit in Johor,” said the Higher Education Minister, who is also Johor Umno chairman, at the Pakatan camp in Taman Dahlia here yesterday.
Besides thanking his Pakatan coalition partners, Amanah president Datuk Seri Mohamad Sabu also expressed his gratitude towards Barisan-Umno for its contribution that led to the victories in Pulai and Simpang Jeram.
“They have proven that they can deliver Malay votes in the two by-elections.
“I promise to send the best team in Amanah to Pelangai in Pahang to help out in the upcoming by-election to help Umno’s candidate there,” said the Agriculture and Food Security Minister.