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‘Hard to repeat GE15 performance’

Publish date: Thu, 30 Nov 2023, 09:15 AM

PETALING JAYA: Low turnout due to heavy rains will hamper Perikatan Nasional’s chances of winning the Kemaman by-election with a repeat of the 27,000-vote majority it received in the 15th General Election (GE15) last year, say analysts.

However, they said Perikatan still has a high chance of retaining the seat even with the expected lower voter turnout because of the year-end monsoon season.

 “It will be very hard for PAS to retain its GE15 record of winning by more than 27,000 votes as some voters may not go out due to the heavy rain while outstation voters may feel that there is no use returning to vote,” said Nusantara Academy for Strategic Research senior fellow Azmi Hassan.

The Malaysian Meteorological Department (MetMalaysia) has forecast four to six incidents of heavy rainfall from next month until February 2024 that have the potential to cause floods.

In GE15, Perikatan’s Che Alias Hamid clinched about 58% of the 113,095 votes cast, winning the seat by a 27,179-vote majority against Barisan Nasional’s Datuk Seri Ahmad Said and two other candidates.

During the campaign period in the last 13 days, Perikatan has said that it is aiming for a winning majority of 30,000 votes.

Perikatan is being represented by Terengganu Mentri Besar Datuk Seri Dr Ahmad Samsuri Mokhtar while former Armed Forces chief Jen (Rtd) Tan Sri Raja Mohamed Affandi Mohamed Noor is contesting for Barisan.

Azmi also believes that although it would not be an easy task for Barisan to take over the seat, it has fielded a strong and formidable candidate who is capable of regaining some lost ground for the coalition.

Perikatan has been hyping up the possibility that Ahmad Samsuri will be propelled to a more high-profile position if he wins the by-election, while criticising the unity government for giving out unequal allocations to MPs.

Barisan, meanwhile is pitching the fact that its MP would have more time to attend to the constituency’s needs.

Political scientist Prof Datuk Dr Sivamurugan Pandian said it was vital for Perikatan and especially component party PAS, to achieve a big majority because its candidate is the Mentri Besar.

“If he wins with a smaller or reduced majority, he will be criticised as he’s also been mentioned as a potential prime minister candidate for Perikatan,” said Sivamurugan of Universiti Sains Malaysia.

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