KUALA LUMPUR, April 7 ― Despite even chances between Pakatan Harapan (PH) and Barisan Nasional (BN), the latter seems to have a more promising lead in the Rantau by-election so far, Ilham Centre said today.
The research firm said based on personality factor, Datuk Seri Mohamad Hasan who is also known as “Tok Mat” seems to be leading the campaign as opposed to PH’s Dr S. Streram.
“With six days remaining to campaign and based on the candidate’s factor, BN is leading upfront. The BN machinery also looked more organised and many of those involved comprised of locals,” it said in a statement here.
Ilham Centre said politics of remembering one’s contribution was very effective as Mohamad was previously the state mentri besar for three terms, while PH’s candidate was relatively unknown among the grassroots and an outsider.
“Tok Mat would still requires non-Malay votes and Malays votes were expected to remain on his side due to the significant of Malay-Islam issues raised by the Opposition at this moment.
“Meanwhile PH’s winning formula is based on a 20 per cent swing from Malay votes and ensuring the non-Malay votes stick with the ruling coalition,” it said.
Not dismissing PH’s victory chances, Ilham Centre pointed out that it would be a “bonus” and considered a “giant killer” if PH managed to secure victory as it would be a wake up call to return voters’ confidence after losing consecutive defeats in the latest by-elections.
“The pressure is on Tok Mat to secure victory because defeat would deliver a great blow to Umno-BN.
“PH needs the win so that it can deny the rise of Umno who have obtained momentum since their victories in Semenyih and Cameron Highlands.
“PH must also win in order to strengthen its support among the grassroot levels who at present still performs on the capacity of the respective component parties,” it said.
However it remained to be seen if PH’s effort in organising clustered ceramahs, avoiding from attacking Tok Mat in public and meeting voters on the ground was enough for it to garner support from voters whose perception of PH at the federal level is still seen as weak.
On April 13, the Rantau by-election will witness Dr Streram competing against three other candidates, namely, BN’s candidate Mohamad and two independents, R. Malarvizhi and Mohd Nor Yassin.
The by-election was called after the Federal Court dismissed an appeal filed by Mohamad to set aside an Election Court decision to declare his victory in the 14th general election (GE14) null and void.
Rantau has 20,926 registered voters comprising 11,283 Malays, 5,336 Indians and 3,849 Chinese.