DAP, cost of living at centre of voter unhappiness, says Dr M

(FMT) – Pakatan Harapan lost the Tanjung Piai by-election because Malay and Chinese voters were both unsatisfied, with the DAP at the focus of their unhappiness.

Speaking to reporters at a press conference after chairing the PH presidential council meeting this evening, he said voters had been influenced by allegations hurled at the DAP, among other factors.

Malay voters felt that PH had been taken over over by DAP. On the other hand, Chinese voters felt that DAP was being used as a tool by him as PPBM chairman.

“So there appears to be a balance, both sides are unsatisfied. We cannot satisfy everyone, but the situation now is that people are not satisfied because we are being fair to both sides.”

Besides these sentiments, he also admitted that the rakyat seemed unhappy about how PH was handling the rising cost of living.

“We are aware that this bad result was a warning to the coalition that there were a lot of things we had done that the rakyat were not happy with, especially with regards to the cost of living,” he said.

Mahathir added that in the wake of the PH defeat at Tanjung Piai, measures must be taken by cabinet ministers and PH component parties, who had already diagnosed what went wrong.

He advised component parties to brief their members to bring up their disagreements via party channels to the leadership council and avoid a public airing.

“Sometimes it appears that there is disunity, but this disunity has never occurred at leadership level. Maybe normal members are unsatisfied and do not know of the real facts and had made some comments.”

He said the party will consider proposed counter-measures to deal with voter dissatisfaction as brought up during the presentation. A possible cabinet reshuffle was among such measures. “All of this will be considered and we will take action if needed,” he said.

When asked what other efforts will be taken to improve public satisfaction, he said the public itself seemed to be divided.

“Some are very supportive. Those supportive are not very vocal. Those who are not happy, speak out a lot.

“We have to make an assessment on who we should follow; those who are against, or those who are for, those who want a (cabinet) reshuffle or those who don’t. All must be taken into consideration.”

At the Tanjung Piai by-election on Nov 16, the PH candidate, Karmaine Sardini of PPBM, lost to Wee Jeck Seng (BN-MCA) by over 15,000 votes.

The Tanjung Piai seat fell vacant after Md Farid Md Rafik, a deputy minister in the Prime Minister’s Department, died on Sept 21 from heart complications.

Tanjung Piai is a mixed seat with 53,528 registered voters, comprising 57% Malays, 41.66% Chinese and 1% Indians.