KUALA LUMPUR, Dec 3 — Datuk Seri Takiyuddin Hassan today claimed the 37,000-vote majority won by PAS in yesterday’s Kemaman parliamentary by-election to be a referendum of the public’s disapproval of Prime Minister Datuk Seri Anwar Ibrahim’s leadership of the country.
Despite it being a vote in an overwhelmingly Malay state controlled by his party, the PAS secretary-general said the victory is an endorsement of the Islamist party’s candidate who is also Terengganu Menteri Besar Datuk Seri Ahmad Samsuri Mokhtar, and signals the surge in public support for the Perikatan Nasional (PN) federal Opposition coalition.
“Ahmad Samsuri’s victory with a greater majority of 37,220 votes representing the support of 70 per cent of the voters not only proves the acceptance of his position as Menteri Besar of Terengganu but also confirms the momentum of rising support for PN in the series of by-elections held after the 15th General Election, including in the Parliament of Kuala Terengganu and Pulai as well as the by-election of Simpang Jeram and Pelangai before.
“It is clear that the central government continues to fail to gain the support and trust of the people even after one year in power,” he said in a statement published today in PAS-owned newspaper Harakah Daily.
He said that the election results reflected a significant decline in support for the Pakatan Harapan (PH) and Barisan Nasional (BN) coalition government, which garnered 27,778 votes.
To Takiyiddin, the BN-PH votes represented only30 per cent support and stood in contrast to the combined voter tally both leading coalitions here on the Malay peninsula owned in GE15 last November.
He noted that in GE15 PH and BN obtained 8,340 and 38,535 votes respectively, accounting for 41 per cent support.
Takiyuddin also said that not only did the PH-BN coalition fail to attract new support, but it also witnessed a continued erosion of previously enjoyed backing.
Beyond mere electoral dynamics, he said that PAS contended that the outcome of the Kemaman by-election signalled a voter’s rebuff of ‘allocation fund politics’ and the alleged dishonourable tactics employed by Putrajaya to coerce and “bully” the Opposition members.
He highlighted the administrative confusion factor and underscored the voter sentiment against the lack of cohesion between the Opposition parliament and the state government.
“The Opposition Parliament and the state government that is not on the same page to bow down and support him,” he said.
In response to Putrajaya’s perceived shortcomings in ensuring the protection of the people and the country from the adverse effects of the government’s actions and wider global developments, PAS declared its readiness to assume greater responsibilities at the national level when circumstances demand.
He said PAS remained committed to practising mature, dignified, and democratic politics, not only in its role as an Opposition in Parliament but also as a responsible government in the states it governs as he believed this approach is in the country’s and its people’s best interest.
Ahmad Samsuri won the by-election for the Kemaman parliamentary seat in the state for PAS with a whopping vote-majority of more than 37,000 votes, based on official results from the Election Commission.
In the straight fight against Barisan Nasional candidate Gen (Rtd) Tan Sri Raja Mohamed Affandi Raja Mohamed Noor who won 27,778 votes, Samsuri won 64,998 votes with a voting majority of 37,220 votes.
Previously during the 15th general election on November 19 last year, Terengganu PAS committee member Che Alias Hamid had won the Kemaman seat in a four-corner fight with 65,714 votes, which gave him a 27,179-vote majority over BN candidate and Terengganu Umno chief Datuk Seri Ahmad Said. Ahmad had won 38,535 votes, Pakatan Harapan had won 8,340 votes, and Parti Pejuang Tanah Air had won 506.
But on September 26 this year, the Election Court decided to nullify Che Alias’ election win following an election petition, with the election judge accepting the allegation that there had been bribery in several official events of the Terengganu state government through the distribution of i-Belia and i-Siswa aid funds to voters during the GE15 campaign period to garner votes for Che Alias.
PAS later decided not to appeal the Election Court’s decision, which led to yesterday’s by-election.