There has been a vehement reaction to my suggestion that the results of the Sungai Besar and Kuala Kangsar by-elections may be justification to revisit an earlier proposal that PAS concentrate in Kelantan, Terengganu, Kedah and Perlis while AMANAH focus on all the other states, subject to adjustments to the arrangement by two political parties.
PAS Vice President and MP for Bukit Gantang Idris Ahmad described the suggestion as “illogical” and that PAS should be allowed to contest in areas it had previously contested in to “maximise victories for the opposition” – as in last Saturday’s Sungai Besar and Kuala Kangsar by-elections.
He said there would not have been an issue in the first place if PAS was up in straight fights against the Barisan Nasional in the Sungai Besar and Kuala Kangsar by-elections.
Idris cannot be more wrong, for the recent two by-elections are good examples why after the break-up of Pakatan Rakyat because of the refusal of the Hadi-led PAS leadership to honour the Pakatan Rakyat Common Policy Framework and the Pakatan Rakyat consensus operational principle, the one-to-one fight is not the “magic potion” to defeat the Barisan Nasional.
During the by-election campaigns, I had predicted that PAS would lose by 10,000 votes in Sungai Besar and 5,000 votes in Kuala Kangsar compared to the 2013 General Election results.
In the event, PAS lost by 11,394 votes in Sungai Besar and 7,452 votes as compared to the votes polled by PAS candidates in the 2013 General Election.
If the Sungai Besar and Kuala Kangsar by-elections had been a one-to-one fight between BN and PAS, the Barisan Nasional majority in the Sungai Besar by-election could have increased from 9,191 votes to over 16,000 votes and in Kuala Kangsar by-election from 6,969 votes to over 11,000 votes.
This is because some 80 per cent of the voters who voted for the Amanah candidates in the two by-elections would not vote for PAS and its policies after the break-up of Pakatan Rakyat and would be open to persuasion to vote for BN instead!
It is therefore fortunate that the Sungai Besar and Kuala Kangsar by-elections were not straight one-to-one fights between BN and PAS, for far from “maximising victories for the opposition”, the Barisan Nasional would have won by an unprecedented humongous majorities of over 16,000 in Sungai Besar and over 11,000 in Kuala Kangsar – giving the Prime Minister, Datuk Seri Najib Razak stronger grounds to claim that his leadership as well the RM55 billion 1MDB and RM4.2 billion “donation” global scandals have received not only thumping votes of confidence by the people but even divine blessing.
There are useful lessons to be drawn from the twin by-elections but let us ask the right questions and draw the right ones, for instance:
(i) why PAS was not even able to achieve what it polled in 2004 General Election in both constituencies, polling only 6,902 votes in the Sungai Besar by-election as compared to 7,988 in 2004GE; and 5,684 votes in the Kuala Kangsar by-election as compared to 5,748 in 2004GE;
(ii) whether it is true that going by the Sungai Besar and Kuala Kangsar by-election results, PAS will be completely wiped out in Selangor and Perak – reduced from the 15 State Assembly seats won in Selangor and the five seats in Perak in the 13 GE to zero in both Selangor and Perak as in the 2004 GE; and
(iii) why the 65-year-old PAS is defeated by nine-month-old AMANAH in Sungai Besar by-election and only 901 votes ahead of AMANAH in Kuala Kangsar?
The Sungai Besar and Kuala Kangsar by-elections are good lessons why one-to-one fights is not the “magic potion” to defeat the Barisan Nasional without a common policy framework and commitment against the Barisan Nasional.