Bee Hive, City Centre – After weeks of unstable oscillation in the moods of voters, the final moments have proven that constituents of Bukit Gantang, Perak and Bukit Selambau, Kedah are still in favour of Pakatan Rakyat whereas Batang Ai, Sarawak remains putty in the hands of Barisan Nasional.
Amongst all of the tri-elections, Bukit Gantang has been the focal point of attraction as its electoral outcome is seen as a sheer representation of the public’s opinion towards the government. Due to the Perak fiasco where in the end BN had constitutionally ‘hijacked’ the state from PR, the reigning party is still grappling for its local legitimacy.
Dato’ Seri Ir. Mohammad Nizar Jamaluddin’s victory probably signifies the Perakians tacit rejection of BN’s current ruling of the state. Even though BN was well equipped with ‘armaments’ of issues like DS Nizar’s “mohon derhaka” and Nga’s Quran quote, it had failed to yield PR’s strategic approach of information dissemination to counter any punitive remarks.
Both Bukit Gantang and Bukit Selambau were known as fortresses of the PR which were not impregnable. In fact, BN had a possible, though flimsy chances of siege.
Some had expressed their worries because even though with the smooth transition of powers, the upcoming line-up of new cabinet team and the return of Tun Mahathir, its fate has not overturned. BN’s losses are telling us that unless the alliance starts to devise and expedite long-term strategies, its future for the 13th General Election stays bleak.
However, if one were to meticulously magnify each aspect of the chronological occurences, problems and strategies, the other side of the story could be discovered.
Voting Patterns in Bukit Gantang and Bukit Selambau
Compared to the 12th GE results, the percentage constituents who voted had increased in Bukit Gantang by 2.4% but voting in Bukit Selambau had declined by 3.5%.
The majority won by PR candidates in Bukit Selambau slightly increased by only 41 votes (0.002%) BUT in Bukit Gantang DS Nizar Jamaluddin had amassed an amazing 78% total of increased voters!
From these rough statistics, a general assumption could be made is that the constitutents of these two “hillies” are still in support of Pakatan Rakyat.
However a thorough analysis which includes other aspects such as the total of spoilt votes, votes to free candidates, comparison of voting patterns with previous elections and voter compositions would show that actually PR’s win do not reflect the constituents’ true partisanship. Instead, there is a great number of grey areas for both PR and BN where these voters could be very much influenced by issues and perception.