Waning support a concern to Opposition

(The Star) – Opposition leaders are in agreement that the slim majority for PAS in the Manek Urai by-election is something not to be taken lightly as it showed an erosion in support for the Opposition.

They also said reports about split and fights among parties in the coaliation should be settled amicably or the people will lose confidence in the Pakatan.

DAP adviser Lim Kit Siang said the slim majority came as a shock for the party. “The slide in public confidence must be acknowledged and checked,” he said in a statement yesterday.

In George Town, Penang Chief Minister Lim Guan Eng said PAS was fortunate to have won in the by-election, saying that the results showed declining support for the Pakatan.

“Three issues contributed to the waning support in the by-election – PAS internal conflicts regarding talks on unity government with Umno, incidents in Selangor where (Bukit Antarabangsa assemblyman) Azmin Ali seemed to be attacking his own party with criticisms on Mentri Besar Tan Sri Khalid Ibrahim and new Prime Minister Datuk Seri Najib Tun Razak announcing many gifts that the people would like to hear.”

Speaking to reporters after launching the Penang Trade Events 2009 Calendar yesterday, he said, with all these factors in Barisan’s favour, it was encouraging that PAS could still retain the seat.

Meanwhile, PKR elections director Saifuddin Nasution Ismail said news reports about the problems within the Pakatan could have swayed “fence sitters” to vote for the Barisan.

“I don’t think the unity talk among certain leaders of PAS was an issue,” he said in an interview from London yesterday.

PKR strategic director Tian Chua said development projects promised by the Barisan had influenced the voters in Manek Urai.

He said PAS also faced an uphill battle because its candidate was “new.”