PN’s way of choosing candidates paid off, says Umno insider

The source tells FMT that the opposition tries to suit local needs, while Pakatan Harapan decides based on party position.

(FMT) – Perikatan Nasional’s strategy of choosing an election candidate to suit local needs paid off at the Sungai Bakap by-election, according to an Umno insider.

An Umno Youth leader, who asked to remain anonymous, said PN’s strategy was working very well compared to that of Pakatan Harapan.

He said PN had been using the right strategies since the state assembly elections last year. “PN chooses a candidate who can truly win, setting aside the candidate’s qualifications as long as he or she is accepted by the voters,” the source said.

PN carried out research into local needs, while PH made its selection based on name and position in the party.

The source also said that Umno members in rural areas were generally more reluctant to vote for a PH candidate, compared to Umno voters in urban areas.

“The sentiment in a rural seat is very different. Kuala Kubu Baharu and Pulai (where by-elections were also held) were urban seats, hence Umno votes went to the PH candidate.

“But in a rural area it is very different,” he said.

On Saturday, PN retained the Penang state assembly seat of Sungai Bakap, with its candidate Abidin Ismail defeating his PH rival Joohari Ariffin by 4,267 votes. The by-election was called after the previous assemblyman Nor Zamri Latiff died in May.

‘Diesel scheme caused poor turnout’

The government’s new diesel subsidy scheme, targeted at lower-income groups, caused a low turnout of Chinese voters, according to a DAP leader who did not wish to be named.

“The Chinese in that area are small farmers who depend on diesel. This group did not get the subsidy and thus there were cost implications,” he said.

Most Chinese voters stayed away but a “small percentage” voted for PN, he said. “This says something and needs to be addressed immediately,” he said.

There was also little coordination between parties in the government coalition during the campaign.

“When Selangor menteri besar Amirudin Shari spoke at an event in Sungai Bakap, there were fewer than 20 members of the public present. The rest of the crowd were party people. The same happened when Penang chief minister Chow Kon Yeow spoke to the Indian community,” he said.

On Saturday, Chow said Chinese voter turnout was at an estimated 49%, a 13% drop from last year’s state assembly elections, while there was no change in the turnout for Indian voters.

A total of 24,711 votes were cast, out of an electorate of 39,279, for a turnout of 63.5%

Chow confirmed that one of the main issues of discontent is the diesel subsidy scheme rolled out on June 10. The opposition and Umno members said the scheme should have been deferred.