Sympathy Or Credibility, The Choice For Kajang’s Voters?


Mohd Hisham Abdul Rafar, Bernama

The guessing game on the candidates for the Kajang by-election is now over with Barisan Nasional’s (BN) Datin Paduka Chew Mei Fun and Parti Keadilan Rakyat’s (PKR) Datuk Seri Dr Wan Azizah Wan Ismail locked in a straight fight.

Dramatic turn of events brought Dr Wan Azizah into the Kajang race instead of her husband Datuk Seri Anwar Ibrahim who was PKR’s original choice. Anwar, the PKR defacto head, was stopped on his tracks last Friday when the Court of Appeals found him guilty for sodomy and handed over a five-year jail sentence.

Chew was the choice for MCA that is seeking to revive its dwindling political fortunes and is ready to take the bull by the horns.

Interestingly, voters in the Kajang by election on March 23 will be voting along the lines of sympathy and credibility. Wan Azizah is expected to gain from sympathy votes for her husband while Chew’s trump card is BN’s credibility as a party that promotes peace, continuity and progress.

According to Associate Professor Datuk Dr Samsul Adabi Mamat, it would be interesting to see whether the Appeals Court decision on Anwar would have any bearing on the Kajang by-election outcome.


Despite the odds going against BN, looking at the current political realities the outcome could still favour BN.

The huge turnout of supporters on the nomination day and at the campaigns that begun yesterday was not the effective yardstick in judging who has the upper hand.

It is the campaign strategies that gets into the hearts of the people that could translate into favourable votes.

According to the lecturer with the Universiti Kebangsaan Malaysia’s Social Science and Humanities Faculty, a high position within the party hierarchy too would not guarantee an easy win.


Also, interestingly as both candidates are women and 50 percent of the 39,278 voters – Malays 48 percent, Chinese (40 percent) and Indians (10 percent) – in Kajang are women and it will be nice to see the voting trend.

In answering this, Samsul Adabi pointed out this was not something easy to predict in the early stages and the current scenario indicated that both candidates have a 50-50 chance.

“Nonetheless, the final outcome depends on the respective party’s strategies to woo the voters,” he said.

Yesterday Deputy Prime Minister Tan Sri Muhyiddin Yassin, who is also BN’s deputy chairman, was reported saying the tough fight would not deter a surprise outcome especially when looking at the fact that BN’s machinery at the 16 polling locations were already on overdrive.


Based on Samsul Adabi’s recent evaluation, he found that women aged 30 and above show greater propensity to choose BN, that promotes peace, stability and progress while those between the 21-29 age group were inclined towards PKR due to sympathy and their exposure to the information from social media.

“Some of those between 21-29 years of age are still divided between BN or PKR.

“Sympathy for Anwar will also play a role like what happened in 1998 during the height of the ‘reformasi’ movement. Now I see that Anwar is no longer in the spotlight due to the MAS missing MH370 flight that is now hogging the news and social media,” he said, adding that there would not be a repeat of the 1998 sentiments.

He added that Wan Azizah could only win through sympathy votes, while Chew who was the former Women, Family and Community Development deputy minister has proved her credibility as the Petaling Jaya Utara Parliament member.


Apart from Chew’s solid record, MCA has the advantage in winning the hearts of the people through its Youth and Puteri wings.

However, having said that, the opposition alliance also has its own strengths – its grip on the social media including Facebook and Twitter that could easily sway the voters.

“When speaking of cyber troopers, Pakatan Rakyat definitely has the upper hand. Therefore, I see a balanced strength at both sides,” he said.

Meanwhile, BN Youth Chairman Khairy Jamaluddin said the focus of the youth wing is to win the hearts of the 14,000 young voters seen as the deciding factor in the election.

The Kajang by-election is being held after its incumbent Lee Chin Cheh from PKR abruptly resigned on 27 Jan. Lee won the seat in the 13th General Election in 2013 with a 6,824 majority in a six-cornered fight.