Permatang Pauh by-election: A quick analysis


Wan Azizah polled 58.0 per cent of the valid votes cast, compared with Anwar’s 59.2 percent at GE13. So that’s a little slide. If we include spoilt votes, then she polled 57.1 per cent compared to Anwar’s 58.6 per cent.

The BN’s share of the valid votes actually crept up from 40.5 per cent at GE13 to 41.1 per cent this time (or from 40.1 per cent to 40.4 per cent, if we include spoilt votes).

So there is much for both sides to think about.

PKR’s problems with Pas and Anwar’s missing charisma may have contributed to the slide for PKR. Also, many younger out-of-town voters – perhaps those working in KL – may have failed to return home especially after the long weekend a few days earlier, during which some might have preferred to return. So that’s 14 per cent fewer voters.

But PKR can draw heart from its performances in the kampungs, thanks especially to the effort put in by its women’s wing in cooperation with the Pas women’s wing who worked hard among small groups of women to get them to go out and vote. Speakers from the progressive faction of Pas participated in the ceramahs in the last week especially to minimise the fallout from the friction between PKR and the Hadi faction of Pas. Surprisingly, the Pas stronghold of Permatang Pasir actually contributed more than half of PKR’s winning majority.

The BN cannot draw comfort despite its small increase in the share of its votes. It wasn’t able to capitalise on Anwar’s forced absence despite its entire machinery being concentrated in the area.

This could be because of the GST, the higher cost of living and corruption, Mahathir’s constant sniping at Najib over 1MDB, Altantuya, etc. Plus the anger over repressive laws being used against opposition politicians and activists.

What do you think?

If you look at the percentages in terms of all votes cast (including spoilt votes), we get the following:

Final result 2015 by election:

Dr Wan Azizah (PKR) 30316 votes (57.1 per cent)
Suhaimi (BN) 21475 (40.4 per cent)
Salleh Isahak (Independent) 367 votes (0.7 per cent)
Azman Shah Othman (PRM) 101 votes (0.2 per cent)
Spoilt votes: 843 (1.6 per cent)

Total votes cast: 53102 (100 per cent)
Registered voters: 71890
Voter turnout: 73.9 per cent (GE13 88.3 per cent)

Majority: 8841

GE13 (2013) result

Anwar Ibrahim (PKR): 37090 (58.6 per cent)
BN: 25369 (40.1 per cent)
Independent: 201 (0.3 per cent)
Spoilt votes: 672 (1.1 per cent)

Total votes cast: 63332 (100 per cent)
Registered voters: 71699
Voter turnout: 88.3 per cent

Majority: 11721

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3 Options for the Progressive faction (lost in 2015 Muktamar) in PAS: 1) Remain in PAS – It will become difficult for Selangor and PKR to continue. The conflict will still keep in the loop and it bother us as voters. PR will still lose if we don’t end this saga completely 2) Form a new Islamic party – Honestly, it is bad idea in the long term. Malaysia need transform into new politic where no religion and race, but a progressive, professions and intelligent country. – However, in the short term, this is what needed for rural area. 3)… Read more »

gk ong

According to a survey by think tank Institut Darul Ehsan (IDE) on May 3, 63% of the 1,075 Permatang Pauh voters polled said Dr Mahathir’s attacks against Najib influenced them to support Pakatan Rakyat candidate Datuk Seri Dr Wan Azizah.

When asked if GST would push them to support PR, 73% said ‘yes’, the survey showed.

These 2 factors (1MDB and GST) will continue to haunt Regime Najib despite great fanfare (and more from the propaganda effort from Lim Kok Wing soon) on the glossy presentation of Rancangan Malaysia Ke11.


BN’s attempt to convince voters during the Permatang Pauh by-election that government services is not subjected to the GST is exposed after the Johor Sultan expressed unhappiness about it, said Penang CM Lim Guan Eng. Lim was referring to Penang BN chairperson Teng Chang Yeow who during that campaign accused the chief minister of misleading the public when he said the GST would also cover government services. In a statement today, he held that Teng and BN were shown to be clearly lying, now that the Johor sultan had expressed his displeasure that the public or the state government has… Read more »


Tabung Haji-1MDB link fulfills Rahman theory and spells the end of materialistic patronage political party in Malaysia?


Damage control by UMNO now, but they didn’t reveal who want to buy the land at such exorbitant rate unless it’s another government agencies using the rakyat money. Anyway, damages already done, if opposition didn’t raised this issue, they might just slip under the carpet, 1MDB issues will keep arising until the next GE and only need rakyat to open their eyes bigger and see that they want this government to continue.


Yes I agree that the ‘first past the post electoral system is not appropriate in today’s fast changing world, where people within a society tend to hold a far wider range of views and opinions, than in the past, when two parties could provide two very different party manifestos going into an election. New Zealand made the change to proportional representation when it became apparent after several elections that the outcome was minority government. Today, New Zealand uses the system whereby there are Electorate Members of Parliament and party list Members of Parliament. Each party, if reaching a threshold of… Read more »


Politics is not just the art of influencing other people, Michael. Reduced to brasstacks, politics is “who gets what, when and how.” Reduced to such essentials, you can see that it is a place where horse-trading takes place.

I was in New Zealand when it mulled the shift from the “first-past-the-post” system to the mixed member proportion system. Yes, they have done it quite well, to the extent that almost all views are represented.


“Frankly speaking I rather ride on a unicorn or a centaur than a devil in disguise like PAS. I would rather see Lynas, some untransparency or misgovernance than see PAS hudud and an Islamic state which is very real looking from the 2 by election results. Anyway I still believe the coalition, BN UMNO, MCA, MIC, Gerakan and 18 coalition can still ride over PAS, PKR and the chauvinistic DAP. Teluk Intan and Pmtg Pauh have shown that there is a swing of Chinese and non Malay votes towards BN. We have had 56 years of secular governance and I… Read more »


H”We have had 56 years of secular governance and I would not want it to turn it any other way”

What ‘secular’ you are talking about?
The emergence of G25 contradicts your argument. would not exist if the BN coalition is effective and fair to all rakyat and the river of justice can flow smoothly.

Stephen Tan Ban Cheng

Justin, that’s a very apt reply. And 56 years of “secular governance”? Really? Secular? 56 years? Come on Yang. Get real.


Just ignore the sour grapes 🙂


For Chinese everywhere in the world, if you give them a nice “rice bowl” (education opportunities, ease of doing business, cultural freedom & Chinese language usage), they will follow you to the edge of the earth. No need for “hau soi tor kor cha” political ceramahs which they never believe till you show the real stuffs.
And they will smile … camouflaging their contempt for those selling the slippery snake oil of political evangelism or trying hard to sell the same bluffs (again & again)…

Ed G

‘For Chinese everywhere in the world, if you give them a nice “rice bowl” (education opportunities, ease of doing business, cultural freedom & Chinese language usage), they will follow you to the edge of the earth’.

What about the people of Hong Kong? Aren’t they also Chinese?


Ed ; He is talking of the majorities. You are talking of a few particular

Ed G

Yang, Tunglang’s perspective probably holds true for the 1990’s era with the baby boomers’ and the Gen-X’s generations’ willingness to trade their political, social even their economic rights to a certain extent for the limited opportunities and freedom as described. The recent actions of the people of Hong Kong are in all possibilities a depiction of the mindset of the younger generation of the ethic Chinese not just in Hong Kong, but the world over. They no longer adopt the ‘migrant’ mentality but see themselves as rightful and equal citizens of their respective lands. And above all else, they are… Read more »


More malay votes would have gone to PKR if Tabung Haji announced a week earlier its decision to purchase (bail out?) TRX land from 1MDB. Now more people are beginning to worry that their EPF money could end up be used to rescue 1MDB, thus are desperate to make quick full withdrawal by age 55.


Mahathir dakwa Tabung Haji memang ‘bailout’ 1MDB

It has been revealed that senior Tabung Haji executives – CEO Tan Sri Ismee Ismail, deputy CEO Datuk Johan Abdullah, investment panel member Tan Sri Abdul Samad Alias and director Tan Sri Mohd Irwan Siregar Abdullah – also hold top positions in 1MDB, where Ismee is a director in the state investment fund, Johan is chairman and both Abdul Samad and Irwan sit on the 1MDB advisory board.


Mukhriz Mahathir wants the Finance Ministry to explain the cheap price at which it sold land for the Tun Razak Exchange to debt-ridden 1MDB. 1MDB had paid RM64 per square feet for the land against the RM2,773 per square feet in the Tabung Haji purchase. Mukhriz “Kalau TH sanggup bayar harga begitu tinggi utk tanah kepunyaan 1MDB, apa alasan Kem Kewangan jualnya pd harga begitu murah kpd 1MDB dulu?” Did 1MDB actually make any money from its investment or it just made money from getting government land at a great discount and then selling them for profit? Can this fall… Read more »

pak Braim

My only prediction why the majorities dropped in both by-elections are probably due to many voters did not return home because of working far away from Penang But in GE you will see the rise in voters percentage..

Black Widow

USM’s Prof Dr Sivamuragan (Anil probably knows him) was the guest commentator for RTM regarding the by election. He’s too reserved in his views not to cross the RTM’s protocol ?

Calvinsankaran or Yang when they have polished their Bahasa can also apply to be the commentator for RTM ?


Why PKR didn’t win bigger from GST, repressive law and other BN woes. This surely must be a bad sign for PKR and DAP and a good sign for PAS. Pakatan must learn Pmtg Pauh lessons, analysts warn.


Another sign is that MCA is still irrelevant to the chinese community despite its persistance in scaring the chinese voters with hudud threat.


To many they thought they have killed the devil but in fact have let in a more devious one unknowingly, PAS. When BN UMNO won with reduced majorities in Rompin, many were quick to point out that it’s due to the GST, 1MDB, UMNO governance or the repressive law that led to the slide. What about the reduced majorities incurred by PKR Azizah. Is it because of GST, 1MDB, the repressive law or UMNO governance? By right Azizah majorities should have been increased is it not !!! No !!!. The result of the by election show that the above issue… Read more »


Hmm, …Yang you are not just a sniper aiming your vitriol at the DAP State Government. Your analysis is an interesting one.


The fact is Umno supports PAS to implement hudud in Kelantan. Also Umno has never come out to openly support G25 for moderate Islam. It was the Umno folks who create the cross fiasco in Taman Medan. Jakim under Umno has made Islamic policies affecting non Muslims eg. the new concert guidelines. Umno in Melaka is pushing for no sale of liquor in Malay majority area….


When you see Niao Kong jumping up & down against hudud, you are seeing an opportunistic chauvinistic snake-oil politician blowing hate-flames from its nostrils. Knowing the fact that many non-Muslims fear the hudud’s unknown rule of law, tis a ripe time to make a hero of ‘itself’. But has it forgotten the timed-marriage of political convenience tango-ing towards the Jalan-Jalan of Putrajaya? A vow of 2 worlds, one “Oil Can Mix With Water” entity to garner massive support for a Malaysia Baru (until siapa yang sebenar?). We don’t make these unholy vows, so why must we seksa sendiri while the… Read more »


My take on PP result. 1. If we look at the overall percentage of votes gained, actually they are very much same as in the 2013 GE. In fact there is small drop for PKR (58 vs 59.2) and a small increase in BN’s votes (41.1 vs 40.5). Statistically and practically these are not significant enough. 2. Looking at the voters’ turnout it was 74% which is way lower than the GE’s number but not unusual for a by-election. Without detailed data it is hard to interpret who stayed home but most likely it is mixed. 3. If I am… Read more »


I think the important point to note in the 2 by elections is the subtle shift of the Malay electorate away from UMNO. Prominently in Rompin but much lesser in Permatang Pauh. If the outcome of these 2 elections are reflected nationwide, or at least in the Peninsular, we can see UMNO losing many seats to the opposition. In fact UMNO risks losing seats where its majority in the previous round is less than 4000 votes which basically means we can have a new government in Putra Jaya after GE14 as the East Malaysians may easily be enticed to join… Read more »

Phua Kai Lit

The small changes in percentages really don’t matter as there is a clear winner. What is more disturbing is the aggression and potential for politically-motivated violence as shown by the video. The British have a lot to teach us about democracy and elections: Of course, the British still have the archaic (and very unfair) first-past-the-post electoral system. Which we in Malaysia have also inherited. This system should be abandoned for a “proportional representation” system as in the Federal Republic of Germany. Also, archaic institutions such as the House of Lords in UK and the Senate in Malaysia should be… Read more »