A foretaste of what’s in store for Pakatan

By Zainal Epi, FMT

MALACCA: Barisan Nasional (BN) thrashed PAS with a convincing majority of 3,643 votes in the Merlimau state by-election yesterday, dashing the rival’s hope of setting foot in Malacca.

PAS polled only 2,319 votes compared with 2,827 it obtained in 2008. It was an increase of 1,491 votes from the 2,154-vote majority garnered in 2008.

BN has proven that its “less politics and more work” policy is well accepted by the people if the result can be taken as a yardstick of public support.

Led by an aggressive Chief Minister Mohd Ali Rustam who preferred a hands-on style of leadership, BN hit the campaign trail fully organized and equipped.

PAS, on the other hand, was in disarray as it entered the political warfare that needed strength and perseverence.

BN managed to “turn the tide” to increase its majority by acting swiftly on problems faced by the locals as well as promoting all the economic development programmes that have benefited the voters.

Concentrating strictly on local issues, BN has now regained the trust and confidence of the people it lost in the 2008 general election.

Internal feud

BN managed to “turn around” weak areas to its side except for the mixed area of Air Merbau where the Chinese voters still had doubts about BN’s several transformation programmes.

But the return of the Malays to BN and an increase of some 5% of Chinese support had boosted the confidence of the ruling coalition that its policies are slowly being understood and accepted by the people.

Mohd Ali worked hard on the ground for a bigger majority, which seemed to be slipping away a few days before polling because of internal dissent over the choice of candidate.

But he acted swiftly and managed to sovle the internal feud just a day before polling.

The result had one clear lesson for PAS and its partners in the Pakatan Rakyat, DAP and PKR: national issues do not carry weight with the suburban voters.

Interlok, corruption and all the other national topics are nice to hear but Merlimau voters are more interested in bread-and-butter issues that can put food on their tables, give education to their children, provide jobs for the unemployed and ensure a comfortable income for them to survive in the face of rising cost of living.