Unofficial result: BN won the Pengkalan Kubor state by-election seat with a majority of 2635, up from the 1736 votes it won in GE13. Voter turnout was 73 per cent.
Thus the Pas candidate performed worse than the PKR candidate in GE13.
In recent weeks, many observers got the impression that the pro-Hadi faction in Pas had not been acting in the best interest of the 51 per cent who had voted for change. And especially in Selangor, the Hadi faction appeared to be getting too big for its boots. Many observers didn’t like it when the pro-Hadi faction appeared to undermine its Pakatan partners in Selangor in the process of replacing Khalid Ibrahim as Menteri Besar.
In a sense, Pas has not learned any lessons from the aftermath of the reformasi era 1999 general election when the party began to interpret its gains in that election as support for its own conservative ideology rather than the people’s desire for democratic change and reforms via Barisan Alternatif. (On the back for support for reformasi, Pas won in Pengkalan Kubor in 1999 by 2432 votes.)
It was only after the BN’s overwhelming win in the 2004 general election (Pas lost in Pengkalan Kubor by 714 votes in 2004) that Pas began to modify its conservative Islamic state goal to a more inclusive “welfare state”; it also conjured up a new, more inclusive slogan “Pas for all”.
But once again after the 2008 and 2013 general elections, following Pas’ inroads into places like Selangor, actually achieved via Pakatan, Pas, especially its pro-Hadi faction, began to fancy itself as a ‘national party’. It perhaps attributed its credible showing in the general elections to a groundswell of support for its conservative ideology rather than a continuing expression of the people’s desire for change that was unleashed during the reformasi era.
Now, once again, as in the 2004 general election, Pas should learn a sobering lesson, this time in its Kelantan stronghold, if it thinks its conservative, exclusivist ideology will go down well with many Malaysians or if it thinks it can go it alone without its Pakatan partners. As one analyst based in KL observed. “Humility not arrogance will win you the support of the people.”
In a sense, PKR made a wise decision in giving way to Pas at Pengkalan Kubor, perhaps sensing that a candidate from PKR might not have received the full cooperation from the Pas machinery in this by-election campaign.