Will Pakatan sweep KL clean?


There are obstacles against the opposition pact’s determination to improve on its 2008 performance.

Stanley Koh, FMT 

Few political observers doubt that most of the 11 parliamentary seats in the Federal Territory of Kuala Lumpur will go to Pakatan Rakyat in the coming election.

But will the opposition pact do better than it did in 2008 and make a clean sweep? Some would say “Yes”, considering the general perception that urban voters have become more anti-Barisan Nasional than they were when the last election was held.

Furthermore, Pakatan needs only to capture one more seat – Setiawangsa – to make it a clean sweep.

Seasoned observers are not so sure. They say there are obstacles standing in the way of Pakatan realising this particular dream, the most onerous being BN’s ability, through its collaboration with the Election Commission, to manipulate postal voting.

Indeed, the reason most often given for Pakatan’s 2008 defeat in Setiawangsa is that postal ballots account for a large share of the votes in the constituency. According to 2012 figures, they number 12,432 out of 49,958 votes.

Other Kuala Lumpur constituencies with postal votes exceeding 5,000 are Segambut (6,517), Bukit Bintang (5,284) and Bandar Tun Razak (5,175). Batu and Wangsa Maju have 3,400 and 3,220 respectively.

Secondly, according to Cheras MP Tan Kok Wai of DAP, Kuala Lumpur City Hall (DBKL) and other authorities tend to sideline Pakatan representatives in consultations regarding the social and economic development of the city.

“Our elected representatives have been marginalised and kept in the dark on infrastructure development in Kuala Lumpur, including the budgetary planning involved,” he complained.

He said these authorities were effectively denying the Pakatan MPs the right to represent their constituents.

“Opposition MPs are only accorded a token representation and are denied opportunities of effective representation by both DBKL and the Federal Territory Ministry.”

Nevertheless, Tan added, there were encouraging signs from the electorate that inspire the opposition to push hard.

“We are encouraged by the fact that urban voters are now more IT-savvy, more aware than their counterparts in the rural and semi-urban constituencies,” he said.

“This is particularly true in areas where the Chinese form the majority of voters, notably Kepong, Seputeh and Cheras.

“But since 2008, the opposition has also made great inroads among urban Malay voters, especially the younger ones.

“I believe the voting trend is continuously changing in the opposition’s favour although it is still an uphill task in the coming election.

“KL urbanites are more politically savvy now. They want greater changes in the political landscape. Many want a stronger two-party system. I think the changing political consciousness among the urban Malays is a positive sign.”

Read more at: http://www.freemalaysiatoday.com/category/opinion/2013/04/02/will-pakatan-sweep-kl-clean/