It won’t be a shoo-in for Pakatan in KKB by-election


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Perikatan gaining traction among young Malays

PETALING JAYA: The coming Kuala Kubu Baharu state by-election will be no walk in the park for Pakatan Harapan despite having won the seat with a comfortable 4,119 majority in the state polls last year.

A detailed analysis on the voting pattern in the constituency last year showed that although DAP – which is part of the Pakatan coalition – won in the first four voting streams, the going was tough elsewhere with Gerakan, contesting under the Perikatan Nasional banner, winning in the fifth to eighth out of the 10 voting streams.

With analysts also expecting a lower voter turnout for the by-election, things will be tougher this time around.

Ilham centre executive director Hisomudin Bakar said according to a field research conducted by the independent firm on the voting pattern in Kuala Kubu Baharu during the state polls, Perikatan was gaining traction among the young Malay voters.

Predicting a similar trend in the by-election, he said recent controversies such as the plan to nominate Chinese new villages as Unesco World Heritage Sites, the controversy over the socks issue and proposals to appoint non-Muslim experts in the Syariah committee, would particularly haunt the DAP.

“This by-election will also test the response of non-Malay voters on issues pertaining to policies and the performance of the unity government, especially on the rising cost of living and inflation.

“We will also see whether Umno-Barisan Nasional is able to deliver the Malay votes to the DAP candidate,” he added.

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He cautioned that a lower voter turnout among non-Malay voters could be detrimental to the DAP.

Hisomudin did not concur with views that sympathy votes would hand the seat on a platter to the DAP.

“Kuala Kubu Baharu voters were already aware about the health of their incumbent assemblyman,” he reasoned.

The popular Lee Kee Hiong, who had been battling cancer for several years, succumbed to her illness in March.

In the first voting stream, DAP led with 3,048 votes against Perikatan’s 1,630 votes, followed by its 3,590 votes and Perikatan’s 1,654 in the second voting stream.

DAP clinched the third voting stream with 2,769 votes against Perikatan’s 1,937 but from the fourth onwards, Perikatan caught up with 1,515 votes against DAP’s 1,704 votes.

In the fifth voting stream, Perikatan led with 1,377 votes against DAP’s 1,019, followed by Perikatan’s 1,390 to DAP’s 1,114 votes in the sixth stream.

In the seventh stream, Perikatan got 620 votes against DAP’s 509, narrowly defeating DAP in the eighth stream by 25 votes.

The ninth and 10th voting streams were a different story with Perikatan reeling with a mere six and 12 votes respectively, with DAP capturing 366 and 322 votes respectively.

As for postal votes, Perikatan had the upper hand with 245 votes against DAP’s 89. Prior to the automatic voter registration mandate, individuals were assigned to voting streams according to age group, with older voters assigned to upper voting channels.

However, after the automatic voter registration mandate was enforced in 2021, individuals were assigned voting streams according to when they registered as voters.

The later a person registers, the lower his or her assigned voting stream will be.

Universiti Teknologi Malaysia’s Razak Faculty Perdana Centre political analyst Dr Mazlan Ali said the voting pattern showed the Opposition’s influence on social media.

“Perikatan was very efficient in handling social media in the 15th general election and also during the Johor state polls last year,” he said.

Mazlan said Perikatan’s ability to woo non-Malay voters was in doubt.

“If we look at the racial composition of Kuala Kubu Baharu, Pakatan has the advantage. I think Pakatan can get at least 85% of non-Malay voters and about 25% to 30% of Malay votes,” he predicted.

Mazlan believed that the voter turnout in the by-election will be lower.

“Usually in by-elections, the turnout is lower than the general election. So political parties must campaign hard to attract voters.”

Mazlan also said the by-election could be used as a yardstick of the people’s perception of the unity government.

“If Pakatan wins with a lower majority, it will show that people are not happy with the government’s performance and this will be a victory of sorts for the Opposition,” he added.

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