Zahid: PAS won because many BN voters didn’t turn up

PUTRAJAYA: The low turnout of Barisan Nasional voters led to the coalition’s loss in the Kemaman by-election, says Datuk Seri Dr Ahmad Zahid Hamidi.

The Umno president said it was this and not an increase in support for PAS that contributed to Barisan’s defeat in the parliamentarry by-election in Terengganu last Saturday.

“There was no rise in support for PAS but there was a shortage of hardcore Barisan voters, especially from Umno, of about 10,000,” the Deputy Prime Minister said at the launch of the Polytechnic Transformation 2023-2030 programme here yesterday.

Therefore, he said, when only 68.3% of hardcore Umno voters came out to vote, it resulted in a higher majority for PAS.

“This does not mean the unity government has lost the people’s support as Kemaman only has around 141,000 voters,” he said.

Asked about speculation that he would be quitting politics for health reasons, Ahmad Zahid replied: “Indeed, I went for a prostate surgical procedure. But don’t make all sorts of speculation.

“Alhamdulillah, I am healthy due to everyone’s prayers.”

In the Kemaman by-election, Perikatan Nasional’s Datuk Seri Dr Ahmad Samsuri Mokhtar of PAS got 64,998 votes while Barisan’s Jen (Rtd) Tan Sri Raja Mohamed Affandi Raja Mohamed Noor polled 22,778 votes in a straight fight.

The Terengganu Mentri Besar won with a higher majority of 37,220 votes compared with what Perikatan secured in the 15th General Election (GE15) in November last year.

In GE15, PAS’ Che Alias Hamid received 65,714 votes, giving him a winning majority of 27,179 votes in a four-way fight.

Che Alias’ closest competitor, Barisan’s Datuk Seri Ahmad Said, obtained 38,535 votes while Pakatan Harapan’s Hasuni Sudin got 8,340 votes.

The Kemaman by-election was called after the Terengganu Election Court on Sept 26 nullified Che Alias’ victory in GE15 due to elements of corruption during the campaign period.

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