Malaysian elections

So it is BN 72, DAP 7, PKR 3. So that is 10 seats for the opposition, which falls at the bottom end of analyst Faisal S Hazis’s forecast of 10-16 seats.

The result falls a bit flat. Both sides have little to be proud of. The BN because of their appalling and unethical electoral tactics, including the barring of opposition campaigners into the state; the opposition parties because of their hubris, their inability to cooperate and agree on straight fights, their lack of long-term ground work in many seats, and the little apparent difference in economic ideological thinking (ie corporate neoliberal ideology) between the BN and Pakatan parties.

The key figure to watch out for is 44 per cent. That’s the percentage of the popular vote which the opposition parties and independent candidate won in the 2011 state election (2011 state election – 29 per cent) when they bagged 16 out of 71 seats.

This time, there are 82 seats. Can they hit 44 per cent this time around with all the money being splashed around and opposition candidates being denied entry into Sarawak? Share with us your own updates in the comments below:

With the Sarawak state elections expected to be held in April, we can expect all kinds of announcements to be made ahead of the polls.

Like this one: Minister for Rural and District Development Ismail Sabri Yaakob reportedly announced on 21 February that a Mara Science Junior College would be built on a site in Bintulu, with the first intake of students expected in 2019.

Expect more such announcements in the weeks ahead.

By the way, can someone let me know the status of the “university” in Teluk Intan promised by Gerakan-BN candidate Mah Siew Keong on 26 May 2014, just five days ahead of the Teluk Intan by-election.

This evening I spoke to a PKR strategist in Permatang Pauh and he predicts a reduced majority of about 8000-10000 though his party colleague with whom I spoke to earlier had said perhaps a majority of 5000. Anything above 10000 would be a bonus, I suppose, given the reduced turnout expected.

The party strategist said the major issues in this by-election are GST, the higher cost of living and corrupt political leaders.

Official result – BN 23796, Pas 14901 (Majority: 8895)

2011:  Unofficial result – BN 22679 votes, Pas 14445 votes (Majority: 8234).

Pas votes have held steady – only a dip of 25 votes – despite the reduced turnout. But perhaps more people could have been encouraged to turn up and vote for Pas if Pakatan solidarity had been stronger and if it had not been for Pas’ hudud initiative.

This means in all likelihood, the GST and the higher cost of living has hurt the BN; it polled 6244 votes fewer this time compared with GE 13 and its share of the valid votes cast slumped from 66.8 per cent to 61.6 per cent. Pas’ share, meanwhile, has climbed from 33.2 per cent to 38.4 per cent, more likely due to unhappiness over GST rather than any enthusiasm for hudud. (Pas had used GST as a key issue in its campaign.)

The BN’s majority has dropped from 15114 at GE13 to 8895 this time, largely due to the 6300-odd voters who stayed away this time around. Call it the GST factor.

1950: BN 15144 votes Pas 9313 votes (Majority: 5831)

1931: BN 10610 votes Pas 6621 votes (Majority: 3989)

1917: BN 7034 votes Pas 4027 votes (Majority: 3007)

1856: BN 2489 votes, Pas 1373 votes (Majority: 1116)

The big question is … to what extent will GST hurt the BN’s performance and how will the hudud factor (and its impact on Pakatan solidarity) affect Pas’ performance? Mind you, this area is about 90 per cent Muslim.

Probably because of GST and hudud, turnout has dropped from 85.5 per cent (in GE13) to 73 per cent this time.

This means some 6300 people of the 45849 voters who cast their ballots in GE13 have stayed away this time.

In the 2013 general election, the BN won the Rompin seat with 66.8 per cent of the total votes cast. Pas polled 33.2 per cent of the votes.

In 2008, it was BN 66.7 per cent vs Pas 33.3 per cent of valid votes cast.

In 2004, BN 65.9 per cent vs Pas 34.1 per cent of valid votes cast.

So we can see, in the last few elections, the BN has polled two thirds of the votes and Pas a third.

My prediction is that Pas will lose votes, which means there is no great support for its hudud push, is there? But the BN too will lose votes as disenchanted voters might not be able to bring themselves to vote for the ruling coalition either, because of the GST and repressive laws.