Cooling down


Lim Sue Goan, Sinchew Daily

The Teluk Intan is worthy of refering in terms of its turnout, voter’s attitude as a semi-urban mixed constituency and changes of the Chinese. It is indeed a wake-up call for the DAP and Pakatan Rakyat.

The fall of turnout is a phenomenon since the Kajang by-election. Kajang achieved up to 88.4% of turnout in the 2013 general election but it dropped to 72% in the by-election. Bukit Gelugor had 86.3% in the general election, 56.04% in by-election; while Teluk Intan had 80.4% in general election and 67.4% in by-election. Before this, the turnouts of two by-elections in Peninsula were high, recording 80% in Kuala Besut and 85% in Sungai Limau.

The fall of turnout reflected that some voters have become politically apathetic. There must be some reasons behind the change of attitude from passionate in the general election last year to apathetic in the by-elections this year.

The people are passionate usually because they believe that politics can bring changes. However, as the higher the expectation, the greater the disappointment, many still did not return to vote even after the DAP had repeatedly urged them, showing the change in mentality.

Pakatan Rakyat’s performance after the 2013 general election is the key. Pakatan Rakyat has not only failed to play well the role as the “alternative coalition”, but also kept exposing its weaknesses and contradictions, causing the people to gradually lose their confidence in Pakatan Rakyat.

Firstly, the substantial state assembly salary raise, the failure of Menteri Besar to instruct the Selangor Islamic Religious Department (Jais) to return the seized Bibles in Bahasa Malaysia, an outbreak of infighting in Selangor PKR with an intention to abdicate Tan Sri Khalid Ibrahim, water crisis and the Kidex project controversy have shown that the leadership capability in Selangor is in a decline.

It is followed by other controversial issues in other Pakatan Rakyat states, including the replacement of official cars within two months and the interference with press freedom; as well as PAS’s insistence to implement hudud law in Kelantan. These have severely hit the image of Pakatan Rakyat.

The Kajang by-election was made by Datuk Seri Anwar Ibrahim to quell PKR’s infighting and many voters have been feeling bad although it was before the outbreak of the hudud law issue, resulting in the fall of turnout by over 10%. However, the Kajang by-election has failed to solve the factional problems within PKR while the flawed party’s election has again, exposed its weaknesses.

The MCA did not contest in the Bukit Gelugor by-election and thus, the low turnout was not a problem. However,t the high spoilt votes of 589 was a sign of protest.

The DAP eventually paid a price for the low turnout in the Teluk Intan by-election. The number of people voting reduced by more than 8,000 compared to the general election last year. The 543 spoilt votes were more than double the majority of 238 votes. Despite the chaos brought by Umno Youth members earlier, it remained unsuccessful in boosting voters’ passion.

In the case of evenly matched, the party not making friends might have to taste the bitter fruit. Although Chinese groups were not in control of many votes, attacking Chinese groups still means cutting offs contact.