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Saturday, April 11, 2009

Malaysian Politics: BN got BATANG,PKR got BUKITs

The three by-elections yesterday (7 Apr ’09) saw Pakatan Rakyat (PR) won in Bukit Gantang (Perak) and Bukit Selambau (Kedah), while Barisan Nasional (BN) won in Batang Ai (Sarawak).

 Overall, it is "status quo" for Malaysian politics after five by-elections so far, as BN continued to "struggle" in Peninsular Malaysia while still getting the support in East Malaysia, maintaining the trend seen in the Mar ’08 General Election.

 We view these by-election outcomes as "positive" for the economy in that the new leadership and the soon-to-be announced Cabinet must perform and deliver on economic and social fronts to regain political support.

PAS retained the Parliamentary seat of Bukit Gantang (Perak) and PKR won the State Assembly seat of Bukit Selambau (Kedah), while as consolation, BN kept the Batang Ai (Sarawak) State Assembly seat. Details of yesterday’s (7 Apr ‘09) three by-election results are in the appendix. In short:

 Former Perak Chief Minister Datuk Seri Mohammad Nizar Jamaluddin of the Islamic party PAS successfully defended the Bukit Gantang Parliamentary seat his party won in Mar ’08 General Election, with a larger majority of 2,789, beating BN’s Ismail Saffian and independent candidate Kamarul Ramizu Idris.

 The Bukit Selambau State Assembly seat in Kedah, where a record 15 candidates (including 13 independents) contested, was won by Datuk Seri Anwar Ibrahim-led PKR candidate, S. Manikumar, who defeated BN’s Datuk S. Ganesan (Kedah MIC Deputy Chairman and former State Assemblyman for Lunas) with a 2,403 majority – little changed from the Mar ’08 General Election results.

 In Batang Ai, Sarawak, the straight fight between BN’s Malcolm Mussem Lamoh (a newcomer) and PKR’s Jawah Gerang (a former five-term Lubok Antu MP) saw BN winning the State Assembly seat with an increased majority of 1,854.

BN: 1; PR: 4.
In total, there have been five by-elections, including the three held yesterday. Analysis of these by-election results shows that the percentage of votes (excluding spoilt votes) going to BN and PR were little changed from the Mar ’08 General Election. BN and PR respectively received 44% and 56% of the votes in the five by-elections so far, compared to 45% and 53% in these five constituencies during the Mar ’08 General Election. For the whole Mar ’08 General Election, BN and PR garnered 53% and 47% of votes, although for Peninsular Malaysia, PR actually edged BN on the percentage share of votes by 51% to 49%.

Overall, its "status quo" in Malaysian politics as the distribution of votes in the by-elections shows that BN is still finding it hard to win votes in Peninsular Malaysia, but has strong support in East Malaysia more than a year after the Mar ’08 General Election

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