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It is interesting and yet rather boring when you look at the outcomes of these two by-elections. The one in Peninsular Malaysia somehow managed to be retaken by BN whilst that in East Malaysia in the state of Sarawak, Sibu has been captured by the opposition DAP in the PKR camp. When you look at it, both are by a slim majority. As usual this BN loss does not become leading news in RTM like that when BN won Ulu Selangor.

Looks like the people of Sibu have refused to give a birthday gift to the Deputy Prime Minister who worked so hard to win the by-election. It must have been frustrating for those BN politicians who come in droves to campaign in Sibu. So much publicity was given to BN leaders from Peninsular Malaysia in the media that one thought BN would win. In fact local Sarawak leaders should have been given prominence as the voters were more concerned with local issues rather than national.

Look at the composition of the Sibu voters and one will have some ideas about the tenacious independence displayed there. People voted with their conscience and not given to election carrots being dished out by the BN government.

It is always a good practice for any losing party to do a post-mortem on their performance though the majority is slim because if the people really like you, you will get at least 60 to 70 percent of the voters turning out for that election day. Do not blame on the inclement weather or lack of interest in the by-election for the low voters’ turnout as concerned and strong-minded people will still go out to vote to express themselves at all cost.

The BN state leadership has a lot to answer for the loss. There might be some cultural elements at play but the dissatisfaction of the people runs deeper right to the State leader who has outstayed his welcome.

BN under Najib has done a lot to raise the unity and economic potential of Malaysia for the last one year but to the Sibu voters, these appear hollow when they still have to suffer under the state current political brouhaha. They need an opposition to bring up the mucks that have developed for more than 20 years. They need a voice which does not fear personal sanction, a voice which will crystallise their issues and put them into perspectives in their own turf.

In Ulu Selangor, with a more racially mixed voter composition, the people are still with PKR and the slim majority win by BN should serve to remind them that the “war” to win the heart and mind of the people is not yet over and will never be over.

And the General Election 13 is not too far off.


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