PETALING JAYA: A think tank survey has predicted defeat for Pakatan Harapan’s Dr S. Streram in the Rantau by-election – unless he is able to woo at least 35% of the Malay votes there.
Polling expert Prof Datuk Dr Redzuan Othman, of Institut Darul Ehsan, said Dr Streram might not be able to win even if he can secure 85% of the non-Malay support.
This is despite the fact that non-Malay voters make up 45% of the electorate in Rantau, with Malays making up the remaining 55% in the semi-rural seat of about 21,000 voters.
“From the beginning, we could see that Rantau would be very difficult for PKR. Dr Streram is an imported candidate going against a hometown candidate from Barisan Nasional,” said Redzuan.
He said Datuk Seri Mohamad Hasan had also taken care of Rantau as the Negri Sembilan Mentri Besar. On whether Dr Streram would be able to secure 35% of the Malay votes, Redzuan said the Malay sentiment in Rantau “is not very different from that elsewhere”.
He indicated that the voting trend in the Semenyih by-election in Selangor could likely be repeated in Rantau.
Another factor going against Dr Streram is that the Malay voter turnout is expected to be high.
Redzuan said that based on the trend in Semenyih, the Malay voter turnout was expected to be about 80%, with non-Malay turnout at around 70%.
He said a large number of working age voters were employed in Seremban or outside the state and would have to return in large numbers for a high voter turnout.
The Malay community in Negri was also more cohesive because of the “adat perpatih” tradition which drew families into a close-knit system, he added.
Rantau is also the kampung of Mohamad’s late mother.
He was born, bred and educated there till he left for further studies.
“On Friday evenings, the roads leading off the highway to Seremban are jammed with people going back home to visit their families. “And on Sundays after 4pm, there will be another jam as cars head out back to KL,” said Redzuan.
The fence-sitter group, which is less than 20%, comprises civil servants and professionals.