Is Anwar’s ‘no show’ reason why PN wins Padang Serai with comfy margin?

PADANG Serai which is located in the middle of the ‘green wave heartland’ in Kedah was never an easy ‘prey’ for Pakatan Harapan (PH) to begin with, but this is not an excuse to surrender the parliamentary constituency to its political arch-rival when it was the ‘favourite’ to retain the seat.

A post-mortem is warranted to probe the underlying discord – if there is any – and voting trend among the Padang Serai electorate to understand the vote swing to the Perikatan Nasional (PN) coalition who wrested control of the small town in the Kulim district in Kedah with a big margin.

It has to be ascertained if complacency has crept into the PH election machinery which has taken for granted that the “Anwar phenomenon’ would rip the enemies apart, hence Padang Serai would be a walk in the park for the coalition which is now spearheading a unity government.

One might ask how losing one seat would rock the position of PH chairman Datuk Seri Anwar Ibrahim as the newly minted Prime Minister-cum-Finance Minister but alas, the memory of PH having to surrender Melaka and Johor in the aftermath of the Sheraton Move defection to the then PN-Barisan Nasional (BN) coalition is surely still fresh in the minds of PH loyalists.

That PN candidate Datuk Azman Nasrudin (main pic) toppled his PH opponent Dr Mohamad Sofee Razak with a 16,206-vote majority can be a huge morale booster for PN to nurse its wounds of failing to form the government of the day.

Azman, 50, secured a whopping 51,637 votes while lawyer and Kedah PKR secretary Mohamad Sofee polled 35,377 votes.

For the record, PH’s incumbent, the late M. Karupaiya won the seat with a majority of 8,813 votes in the 14th General Election (GE14), defeating PAS candidate Muhamad Sobri Osman and Barisan’s Datuk Dr Leong Yong Kong.

PN’s victory in Padang Serai saw the coalition successfully increase the number of parliamentary seats it won in GE15 on Nov 19 to 74 seats nationwide and strengthened its position in Kedah after winning 14 out of 15 parliamentary seats in the state.

PH remained with 82 seats, BN (30), Gabungan Parti Sarawak (23), Gabungan Rakyat Sabah (six), Warisan (three), Independents (two), while Parti Bangsa Malaysia and Parti Kesejahteraan Demokratik Masyarakat (KDM) has one seat each.

Anwar missing in action

Sentiments from the grassroots are pointing to Anwar who is also the PKR president being absent from campaigning in the run-up to yesterday’s polling, primarily because he was overwhelmed with “national duties” of putting in place his Cabinet.

While Anwar was only able to rally his coalition remotely from Putrajaya due the ill timing of the election, his adversaries, especially PN chairman and Bersatu president Tan Sri Muhyiddin Yassin and his ‘pillow mate’ PAS president Tan Sri Hadi Awang were fearlessly ‘brainwashing’ the Padang Serai electorate with their anti-unity government doctrine.

Tan Sri Muhyiddin Yassin

With the ‘green wave’ effect working in their favour, both septuagenarians (75) were able to denounce the credibility of Anwar’s Cabinet line-up, even to the extent of accusing him of collaborating with ‘infidels’.

Bear in mind that Padang Serai has 83,841 Malay voters (62.6%), followed by 25,687 Indian voters (19.2%), 23,600 Chinese (17.6%) and 742 others (0.6%). The majority are aged between 21 and 30 years old (29.1%), followed by those 31 to 40 (19.7%) – many of whom are already swayed into the PN camp.

While respecting the verdict of the Padang Serai voters, PH candidate Mohamad Sofee described the concluded election as not a “level fight” as his PH opponent banged on race and religion to “scare Malay voters in the rural areas”.

“PN leaders used racial and religious issues to poison the minds of Undi18 voters as they are innocent and believed the lies of PN leaders that there is a threat to the Malays and Islam in the country,” Malaysiakini cited PH candidate Mohamad Sofee Razak as saying.

Sofee further warned that this “poison” sown by PN in the minds of the youths will be passed down to the next generation.

“It is very dangerous for the future generation and of our nation,” he cautioned. “I hope and believe that the unity government under PM Anwar will rectify this cancerous problem in the next five years to take the nation and our youths in the right direction.”– Dec 8, 2022

Subscribe and get top news delivered to your Inbox everyday for FREE