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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.

Rompin-election-results

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