Sunday, April 25, 2010

A tight race

It was a tight race, with many saying it was too close to call.

And close it was too, but in the end, the BN candidate P. Kamalanathan won with a majority nearly ten times larger than the late PKR MP of Hulu Selangor won in the 2008 General Election.

But then, a close analysis of the number of votes (compared to the 2008 GE) shows that PKR garnered an additional 200 votes while BN gathered an additional 2000 votes. It does seem that the winning majority came from these additional voters since the last GE, all things being the same.

While SiPM (M) has indicated that no matter who won, the Hulu Selangor constituents won big in an election where both BN and PKR put up candidates of caliber, the campaigning was still marred by overzealousness of the Dirty Tricks Dept from both parties.

BN played on the fact that Zaid Ibrahim used to consume alcohol and owned race horses, while PKR chose to cast doubt on P. Kamalanathan's degree from Edith Cowan University. Both were factual, Zaid did use to partake of the amber fluid and the MIC man did get his degree from Edith Cowan, through a 3+0 twinning programme with Olympia College.

It is this reliance on dirty tricks which indicates the lack of maturity of political campaigning in Malaysia, be it a by-election or a general election. A more productive campaign would be to question the candidates on the issues of the day, rather than their personal traits.

Instead, what we saw was the usual denigration of attributes which really meant nothing about the man itself, perpetrated by both PKR and BN in equal measure. SiPM (M) thinks this needs to stop, as we gear ourselves for the next by-election in Sibu, Sarawak. Let that be about real issues, issues an MP is supposed to be handling as he's elected to the federal Parliament.

Let us learn from these lessons, as we move on to the 11th by-election since GE12 in Sibu. It's a different ballgame over there, with the Sarawakians taking their state-hood much more seriously than any one in the peninsular can claim to. It would be an election where, hopefully, the issues rule and where once again both DAP and BN put up candidates of caliber for the electorate to pick from.

And once again, SiPM (M) says, it's tricky.

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