Dr M: Not unusual for ruling party to lose by-election

Barisan Nasional candidate Datuk Seri Mohamad Hasan celebrates after winning the Rantau by-election, April 13, 2019. — Picture by Yusof Mat Isa
Barisan Nasional candidate Datuk Seri Mohamad Hasan celebrates after winning the Rantau by-election, April 13, 2019. — Picture by Yusof Mat Isa

CYBERJAYA, April 16 — Prime Minister Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad played down Pakatan Harapan’s (PH) latest by-election defeat in Rantau last week, saying the result was not unexpected.

Stressing that it did not change the balance of power in the state, Dr Mahathir also said the electorate would on occasion use such polls to express their sentiments as there was little risk involved.

“Sometimes government parties, during by-elections, will not get a lot of support because there will be no change in the government.

“They (the voters) know, whatever happens in the by-election, whether the government party wins or not, they government remains the same, and here the government is still Pakatan Harapan,” Dr Mahathir said.

In the by-election last week, acting Umno president Datuk Mohamad Hasan defeated PH’s Dr S. Streram by a majority of 4,510 votes to win the Rantau state seat he has held for the past 15 years.

Mohamad took 10,397 votes to Dr Streram’s 5,887, while independent candidates R. Malarvizhi and Mohd Nor Yasin got 83 and 79 votes, respectively.

Since then, some PH leaders have sought to dismiss views that the pact’s third straight electoral defeat indicated fading support for the coalition that won last year’s general election in an upset result.