Friday, February 13, 2009


The announcement has just been made………..Bukit Gantang in Perak and Bukit Selambau in Kedah by-elections will be held on April, 7, 2009. What a coincidence, the battle of the two bukit in a single day. But the unfortunate thing is that, why hold it on a Tuesday, a working day.

The onus is on PR to retain both the seats, while a lost by BN means a status quo in its numbers in parliament and the state assembly. This being the case, the pressure to win lies heavily on the PR.

The question now is whether PR can repeat the two wins in the previous by-elections, like they did in Permatang Pauh and Kuala Trengganu.

The contest to watch to my mind will be Bukit Gantang, for the simple reason that this by-election will be a test of the people allegiance to either party (PR and BN), as the result of the controversial take over of the Perak state government by the BN recently. In this regards, BN has to work extremely hard to win back the confidence of Perakians in Bukit Gantang, who may have switch allegiance, and are now more sympathetic towards PR over the controversial take over issue.

From my personal observation, it is the Malays that have been rather vocal in their disagreement to the take over, and Bukit Gantang being a predominantly Malay populated area may have been infected by the rise against the ‘foul take over’ of the Perak state government by the BN.

Can Zambery, who is yet to warm his seat as the Menteri Besar and is still grappling with the issue of his exco members, may not be equally ready to take on the challenge to lead his party in the Bukit Gantang by-election. Najib too will not be able to lead this time, in the manner that he did in the two previous by-elections. He has other worries i.e. to fulfill his responsibilities as the newly proclaimed Prime Minister (hopefully) and the economic, social and financial issues troubling the nation today. This are serious issues that requires serious attention, and the burden now is on Najib.

With regards to Bukit Selambau by-election, the issue is one of a right candidate for both the contesting parties. It will still have to be an Indian candidate. And I personally think that having a non Indian candidate by one party, and an Indian candidate by another party will spell disaster for the former. Besides, the Indian community will feel that they are being marginalized, and this may not be good for both parties.

I do not want to predict, who wins and who looses. But my only hope is for both parties to adhere strictly to rules governing the process of a free and fair elections, and that sensible issues affecting the nation and the daily lives of the people, takes center stage during the campaigning.

Posted at 17.00 pm Feb 13, 2009

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