The Pengakalan Pasir by-election is over. OK, the Barisan National, or to be more precise, UMNO has won the seat, by 134 votes in the recount. In the last general election PAS won the seat by 55 votes. There may be yet a court challenge by PAS on the result but that’s not the purpose of my discussion.
Look, Pengkalan Pasir is one of those constituencies that have more or less a 50-50 split in supporters. In one election Party A might scrapped through by a few votes, and in another election Party B would just slipped across the line. So who wins or loss, while important to the party, doesn’t tell much on the actual support for the party other than the voters in the constitutiency are split down the middle. The Pengkalan Pasir seat could therefore be won back by PAS in the next general election, and then maybe not.
But from time to time such 50-50 type of constituencies can see an unusual landslide as had happened in Malaysia in 1969, which unfortunately also triggered the May 13th incident. Comes a time when the voters are excited by magnetic political personalities or a new hope, there will arise a seismic shift in voting pattern.
But it didn’t happen in Pengkalan Pasir despite self proclaimed political reformist Anwar Ibrahim campaigning for PAS. There was a 10,000 strong crowd at his rally which lent the false impression that he would galvanise the majority of the voters behind PAS.
Personally I reckon Anwar Ibrahim still wants to return to UMNO for that is the party where true power is. It’s no fun being in the opposition, not after one has had a taste of that power already and came damn near close to controlling it.
I believe that, by campaigning for PAS, he wanted to put the pressure on UMNO to readmit him – basically a message to UMNO saying a loose free lancing campaigning-for-the-opposition Anwar Ibrahim could be a dangerous political enemy, and UMNO would be better off having him rather than outside.
Yet his presence and personal campaigning didn’t make even a slight dent in the voting pattern of Pengkalan Pasir. What went wrong? That’s the subject of a future posting, but suffice to say now that the biggest loser in the Pengakalan Pasir by-election has been Anwar Ibrahim.