The Pakatan Harapan defeat in yesterday’s Tanjung Piai polls was the most predictable of all the by-elections held since the 2018 general election.
But the 15,086-vote margin of defeat must have stunned many pundits. Yet, the signs were there that a resounding defeat was on the cards.
What were the main factors behind this pummelling at the polls? How did the PH lose a seat – by a factor of 1:2.5 – to a coalition of parties that had propped up a globally derided kleptocracy until 2018?
1. You can’t outdo Umno and Pas in playing the race-religion card
Umno and Pas are masters at the game. PH, on the other hand, was voted in on a wave of hope for a new Malaysia that goes beyond the old politics of race and religion. And for a while after the general election, it had the upper hand.
The pushback from Umno and Pas came swiftly after they had licked their wounds, culminating in the rally to oppose the ratification of the International Convention on the Elimination of All Form of Racial Discrimination. They have deftly capitalised on Malay-Muslim insecurities that they would be marginalised under the new administration.
The Pakatan Harapan government blinked – and the rest is history. Full article on the Aliran website