PAS maintains Chinese support, Umno race tactics a flop

(The Malaysian Insider) BUKIT MERTAJAM, Aug 26 — If the Permatang Pasir by-election was to gauge the effectiveness of Umno’s communal politicking, the results point to only one conclusion: failure.

Mohd Salleh Man, PAS Penang commissioner, beat Rohaizat Othman, the scandal-hit Barisan Nasional (BN) candidate, with a majority of 4,551. The former garnered 9,618 votes against the latter’s 5,067.

PAS won in all Chinese dominated areas throughout the state constituency. From the suburbs of Sama Gagah and Cross Street to the semi-rural town of Permatang Pauh, the Islamist party thumped their Umno rivals with big majorities.

In Sama Gagah, where Umno and its allies in Barisan Nasional spent most of their time campaigning, PAS edged out its old foe by raking in 1,397 votes against Umno’s 594. In Cross Street, a DAP stronghold, Umno fell behind PAS with a 642 majority and in Permatang Pauh, the former gained 875 votes against Umno’s 354.

Campaigning materials depicted PAS as an extremist group; focussing on Chinese-sensitive issues like the pig abbattoir closure in Kedah and the beer sale issue in Selangor to regain much of the lost Chinese votes that went to Pakatan Rakyat in last year’s general elections.

But the Permatang Pasir results have shown that Umno’s racial attacks have not been effective, said PAS vice-president and Permatang Pasir by-election director Datuk Mahfuz Omar.

“The voters have completely rejected the kind of racist politics played by Umno and BN,” Mahfuz told a post-victory press conference in Permatang Pasir.

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