04 May, 2007

BN's pyrrhic victory in Ijok .

Barisan Nasional (BN) retained the Ijok seat when its candidate, K. Parthiban, beat PKR's Tan Sri Abdul Khalid Ibrahim by a 1,850-vote majority.

Is the next general election likely to be held before 50th Merdeka Anniversary celebrations of August 31 as a result of the Machap and Ijok by-elections?

BN’s Pyrrhic victory in Ijok - next general election before 50th Merdeka celebrations on August 31? asks Lim Kit Siang.

Yesterday, Deputy Prime Minister Datuk Seri Najib Razak came out with a new “spin” to claim that Chinese support in Ijok for the Barisan Nasional had not dropped as drastically as some had claimed, as if he did not know that it was none other than the Prime Minister who had expressed alarm at the swing of Chinese voters in Ijok to the Opposition and wanting to know why from MCA and Gerakan.

Why the public vacillation and twist-and-turn of Umno, MCA and Gerakan leaders over the swing of Chinese voters in Ijok to the Opposition, which even attracted an editorial in the Umno-owned New Straits Times yesterday, “Wooing back the Chinese”?

The reason is very simple – no MCA or Gerakan leader dare to tell Umno leaders the truth for the swing of Chinese voters by standing up in Cabinet and the Barisan Nasional Supreme Council to demand retraction and apology for statements and actions of Umno leaders which had “hurt the feelings” of the Chinese, as well as about the injustices and abuses of Barisan Nasional policies, especially in the arbitrary extension of the New Economic Policy when it was a 20-year policy which was to end in 1990.

This explained the arrogant response of the Umno Youth leader Datuk Seri Hishammuddin Hussein yesterday, justifying his “keris-wielding” exhibitions in the context of extremist and communal demands completely heedless of the rights and sensitivities of all communities in the country. Clearly, Hishammuddin has won over MCA and MCA Youth leaders to publicly defend his “keris-wielding” outbursts.

But all this are sheer bravado and there is a growing feeling in Umno and Barisan Nasional that the third option of holding the next general election even earlier than had been seriously considered previously – i.e. before the 50th Merdeka Anniversary celebrations on August 31 - should be given very serious consideration to secure the best possible results for the Barisan Nasional.

Jed Young, the "retired" blogger, wrote to the Star : "PKR should find out why it lost".

THE Opposition’s lament about electoral fraud, intimidation and violence is even more tiring than a broken record.

Especially so after losing in the recent state assembly by-election in Ijok.

As usual upon defeat, the Opposition will cry “foul” and point to a “dirty election” but when they win, they are strangely silent.

Why not cry foul after Lunas or in Permatang Pauh, where Parti Keadilan Rakyat president and only Member of Parliament Datuk Seri Dr Wan Azizah Wan Ismail retained her seat after a recount.

All the allegations about the Barisan Nasional (BN) using government resources, “importing” phantom voters and using police intimidation to win elections are nothing new.

PKR must now face the fact that it lost the Ijok by-election because it failed to secure the Indian votes which consist of about 3,000 or 28% of total votes.

If it had received just 30% of these, this would translate into 1,000 more votes for PKR.

BN was able to secure solid backing from the community after MIC president Datuk Seri S. Samy Vellu went down to the ground to campaign door-to-door twice.

Of course, there were the free sewing machines and 800 land titles but PKR should look beyond these and ask why they failed to get any Indian vote; the other communities were similarly “pampered” by the BN and yet they voted for PKR.

I was there for most of the campaign period and witnessed the hooliganism on nomination day.

To solely blame BN for violence is inaccurate for PKR supporters shouted insults directed at Umno Youth deputy chief Khairy Jamaluddin and at Umno Youth chief and Education Minister Datuk Seri Hishammuddin Hussein.

Throughout the campaign period, PKR supporters displayed an inclination for provocation and violence, such as stopping Deputy Prime Minister Datuk Seri Najib Tun Razak’s car on polling day and taking the law into their own hands to “arrest” alleged phantom voters on board two buses.

Those who claim to fight for the rule of law should respect the law.

PKR has also been calling BN a racist party, but in Ijok the BN proved that it believes in power-sharing and supported an Indian candidate despite calls from Umno for a Malay candidate in the Malay-majority constituency.

The different component parties also worked together with a single cohesive ideology to secure victory.

The Opposition is still swimming about in a pool of conflicting ideologies – DAP fights for a secular state, PAS for an Islamic state and PKR for Datuk Seri Anwar Ibrahim.

For them, the battle for Ijok somehow became a battle between Anwar and Najib.

Then somewhere along the line, to secure Chinese votes, Anwar proclaims wo me do ze yi jia ren (we are now one family) to the Chinese and supports vernacular education.

But what alternative would PKR be offering in terms of government; and to Ijokians, how their lives would be better with PKR in the state assembly?

So instead of crying foul over the “dirty electoral process”, PKR should take a good hard look at why it failed to win the Ijok by-election.

Kuala Lumpur.

Absolutely A fair and just comment, Jed !

Meanwhile, Samy Vellu Challenges Anwar To Stand Against Him In General Election.

Datuk Seri S. Samy Vellu today dared Parti Keadilan Rakyat (PKR) adviser Datuk Seri Anwar Ibrahim to stand against him in the next general election.

"We can fight in any constituency. He can come to my Sungai Siput constituency. I'm not scared," he told reporters after chairing the MIC central working committee meeting here.

He said that PKR should accept the fact that MIC had won the recent Ijok by-election in Selangor by a bigger majority and asked the opposition party to accept its defeat.



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