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DAP faces tough fight to retain Kuala Kubu Baharu seat

Publish date: Mon, 22 Apr 2024, 06:39 PM

KUALA LUMPUR: While the Kuala Kubu Baharu by-election appears to lean towards Pakatan Harapan (PH), the road to retaining the seat won't be as straightforward as in previous elections.

Two leaders from DAP, which is defending the state constituency, offered different views about PH's chances on May 11.

One of them said the by-election result will depend on the coalition's strategy and the message it drives home to voters during campaigning.

Selangor DAP treasurer Ong Kian Ming said the party might secure victory with a majority of fewer than 1,000 votes.

He said it is important for the party to have a robust strategy and message to maintain its stronghold in the state assembly since 2013.

"If DAP can retain the seat, the vote difference will be tight, potentially less than 1,000 votes, compared to the previous state election's 4,119-vote majority.

"While the current political climate may not favour PH, a well-executed campaign aligned with DAP's message could see them through, albeit with a narrow margin," he told the New Straits Times.

Ong said non-Malay voters are now moving towards a direction that could turn DAP into a sort of MCA 2.0.

"These factors imply that the voter turnout among non-Malay voters may significantly decrease in this by-election, especially considering that the outcome will not affect the stability of the Selangor government.

"There is also a possibility that some campaigns urging Indian voters to boycott this by-election may gain traction."

He said there are several other reasons why the by-election will pose various challenges for DAP.

"This includes open disputes among certain leaders of PH and BN, particularly in recent weeks regarding the KK Mart issue involving the use of the word 'Allah'."

"However, it would be inaccurate to say that many supporters of DAP and PH are disappointed with the slow progress of the unity government in implementing institutional reforms, in the narrative of a weak economy , despite continuous healthy foreign direct investment (FDI) and economic growth amidst the rising costs of living and conducting business."

Selangor PH election director Ng Sze Han offered a different take on the coalition's chances in the by-election.

He said voters will be able to judge for themselves based on achievements of the ruling state government.

He said the coalition will have a chance to retain the seats following their performance in the state.

"With our achievements in Selangor, we are confident that we will retain this seat," said Ng, who is Kinrara assemblyman.

Meanwhile, International Islamic University Malaysia political analyst Syaza Shukri said PH will face a challenge in attracting Malay voters due to the constituency's ethnic composition.

"PH will focus on retaining their support base and may attempt to win over more Malay voters, but it could be an uphill battle.

"Overall, I believe DAP will face a tough fight to retain the seat, though it remains possible," she told the NST.

Syaza said Perikatan Nasional (PN), on the other hand, might encounter challenges in appealing to non-Malay voters, who may choose not to vote rather than support the coalition.

She added that MCA and MIC's reported boycott due it not backing any non-Barisan Nasional (BN) candidate, could marginally impact the unity government.

"This may stemmed from MCA and MIC's reluctance to fully embrace the unity government concept, reaffirming their allegiance to BN."

The Kuala Kubu Baharu by-election is being held following the death of its incumbent, Lee Kee Hiong on March 21.

Lee defended the seat for a third time during the state election last year with a 4,119-vote majority after beating Perikatan Nasional's Teoh Kien Hong, Malaysian United Democratic Alliance's (Muda) Dr Siva Prakash Ramasamy and Parti Rakyat Malaysia's Chng Boon Lai.

There were 40,015 registered voters in Kuala Kubu Baharu last year with Malays making up 46.4 per cent of them followed by Chinese (30.7 per cent), Indians (18 per cent) and others (5 per cent).

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