Rafizi downplays claim targeted diesel subsidy scheme led to Sg Bakap loss

(FMT) – PKR deputy president Rafizi Ramli has downplayed claims that the implementation of the targeted diesel subsidy scheme was solely to blame for the unity government’s loss in the Sungai Bakap by-election.

Rafizi said if the subsidy scheme was indeed a factor, Perikatan Nasional would have seen an increase in Malay votes.

“But it didn’t. It remained the same as last year, even before the targeted diesel subsidy scheme was implemented.

“We are exactly where we were one year ago,” he said.

Rafizi, who is the economy minister, was speaking to reporters after an investment forum on the special economic zone between Malaysia and Singapore.

Rafizi, who is also the PKR election director, said there was a need to look at the by-election results in “totality”, before pinpointing the actual reasons for the loss.

“It is still too early to conclude anything as the parameters are still unclear.”

He however felt it was a “mixture” of several reasons.

In the by-election last Saturday, PN’s candidate Abidin Ismail of PAS, polled 14,489 votes for a majority of 4,267 votes over his PH opponent, Joohari Ariffin of PKR, who polled 10,222 votes.

The majority PN achieved on July 6 was bigger than the one recorded in the state elections in August last year.

On the night of Pakatan Harapan’s defeat, the coalition’s state chairman Chow Kon Yeow said discontentment with rising costs and government policies such as subsidies were believed to be among the factors behind the loss as well as the lower turnout.