Kemaman by-election: PAS’ victory doesn’t signify rejection of unity govt, says PKR leader

PAS’ landslide victory in the Kemaman by-election over the weekend does not give a true indication of the people’s rejection of the current unity government, said a PKR leader.

PKR secretary-general Datuk Seri Saifuddin Nasution Ismail said the Islamist party’s win did not signify anything for the unity government as the Kemaman seat was previously won by PAS in the 15th general election (GE15) last year.

“Who won the Kemaman seat during GE15…PAS, right? Who won the Kemaman parliamentary seat last weekend? Also PAS. So, there’s no added value,” he was quoted as saying by Utusan Malaysia during a media briefing during the celebration of the first anniversary of the Home Ministry and the monthly gathering of the ministry’s staff today (Dec 4).

“So (the win) does not signal anything because there wasn’t an increase in the number of MPs supporting the unity government. Therefore, the victory does not signal anything.”

Saifuddin, who is also the Home Minister, said that the signal of the people’s rejection of the unity government could be measured if the seat, previously won by Barisan Nasional (BN) in the last general election, is now won by PAS in the by-election.

“This is merely a change of representatives, and now (last Saturday) the residents there have once again chosen PN. So, there is no issue. I congratulate them on the victory,” he added.

Yesterday (Dec 3) PAS’ Kemaman candidate Datuk Seri Dr Ahmad Samsuri Mokhtar was reported as saying that the party’s landslide win might be perceived as a signal from Terengganu voters rejecting opposition representative in the state.

Ahmad Samsuri, who is also the Terengganu Menteri Besar, had, however, refrained from delving deeper into the matter.

Similarly, Perikatan Nasional (PN) chairman Tan Sri Muhyiddin Yassin was also reported as saying that the larger majority won by the opposition coalition in the Kemaman by-election compared to GE15’s signals that Malay support for BN is eroding and shifting to PN.

Muhyiddin said the victory brought a majority of 37,220 votes, which is an increase of nearly 10,000 votes compared to the GE15 results.

He also said this is a clear signal that the people’s support is leaning strongly towards PAS and PN in general, adding that this further indicates that the popularity of the Pakatan Harapan-Barisan Nasional government is wavering.

“The public, especially the Malays, are rejecting the partnership between the two coalitions,” the Bersatu president said in a Facebook post on Sunday (Dec 3).

Ahmad Samsuri retained the Kemaman seat with 64,998 votes, surpassing BN’s General (Rtd) Tan Sri Raja Mohamed Affandi Raja Mohamed Noor, who gathered 27,778 votes.

Previously the Terengganu Election Court annulled the victory of Kemaman member of parliament Che Alias Hamid who represented the Islamist party in GE15.

This is after Judge Datuk Anselm Charles Fernandis ruled that there was an element of bribery at several official state government events through the i-Belia and i-Siswa assistance funds that were distributed to voters during the GE15 campaign period. – Dec 4, 2023

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