Pakatan says lost battle, not war

By Clara Chooi, The Malaysian Insider

KUALA LUMPUR, March 7 — Pakatan Rakyat (PR) MPs scrambled today to contain the damage from yesterday’s twin by-election defeats, claiming the results had been expected and would not weaken the pact’s position ahead of the general election.

They claimed PAS’s defeat in the state constituencies of Kerdau in Pahang and Merlimau in Malacca had not caused a chink in the pact’s armour, and did not mean the federal opposition had lost momentum ahead of national polls.

When approached in Parliament today, several PR lawmakers reasoned that both constituencies are traditional Barisan Nasional (BN) strongholds, adding that the ruling pact had been a shoo-in to win in both seats from the very beginning,

PAS vice-president Datuk Mahfuz Omar also claimed that PAS’s participation in both the Kerdau and Merlimau contests had merely been “exercise” for PR’s election machinery.

“I do not see that we have lost our momentum to face the 13th general election. In both these by-elections, they were BN fortresses and they were just traditional losses for us,” he told reporters in Parliament today.

The Pokok Sena MP added that he had never expected PAS to win in yesterday’s contests and, hence, did not feel that the party or PR had suffered any losses from the defeats.

“I said before that our participation in the polls was merely to exercise our election machinery. It is not like we went in to win, just to exercise, so there were no losses for us,” he said.

Mahfuz added that despite the strength of Umno and BN’s election machinery, the ruling pact had not succeeded in widening its majorities significantly.

“Even with their attacks and accusations against us, they only succeeded in lowering our votes by very little.

“With such a massive battalion, they should have done better,” he said.