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KJ: Gov’t weighs risks of triggering by-election amid support shift

Publish date: Wed, 17 Apr 2024, 01:43 PM

FORMER health minister Khairy Jamaluddin noted that the government would tread cautiously to avoid triggering by-elections for seats held by six Bersatu MPs who have pledged their support for Prime Minister Datuk Seri Anwar Ibrahim.

Speaking on his Keluar Sekejap podcast alongside former UMNO information chief Shahril Hamdan, Khairy stated that the decision to vacate seats would be at the discretion of Dewan Rakyat Speaker Tan Sri Johari Abdul.

However, he warned against the potential repercussions of such a move, fearing it could tarnish the government’s reputation if seats were lost.

Khairy suggested that the Speaker, a former PKR politician, would consider the political climate before making a decision highlighting the risk of losing parliamentary seats under the current circumstances.

“The Speaker has to make a decision or seek input from Parliament legal officers. However, the Speaker has the benefit of doubt; he is a former PKR politician and will gauge the political climate.

“If a by-election is held under the current circumstances, and if not all, at least five parliamentary seats are lost to Perikatan Nasional (PN), it would have a negative impact on governance,” he said.

Khairy also indicated that the government might adopt a wait-and-see approach particularly observing the outcome of the upcoming Kuala Kubu Baru by-election, which is not a PN stronghold.

“They will likely await the results of the Kuala Kubu Baru by-election, which was previously won comfortably by Pakatan Harapan (PH). They would hesitate to risk triggering a by-election if any setback occurred in that constituency.

“The voter turnout in Kuala Kubu Baru is high, with a significant non-Malay population compared to the six Bersatu parliamentary seats. It would be difficult to recover if they lose all seats in this uncertain economic situation.”

Moreover, Shahril echoed Khairy’s sentiments suggesting that the government should embrace the risk of a by-election to assess public sentiment and reassess their performance. He proposed leveraging the narrative that the seat rightfully belongs to PN and using the by-election as an opportunity to gauge fluctuations in support percentage.

“They should hold the by-election, leveraging the narrative that the seat rightfully belongs to PN.

“This approach would also allow them to gauge fluctuations in support percentage, which offers more tangible insights than mere survey data.” - April 17, 2024

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