KUALA LUMPUR, April 27 — Several political analysts have conceded that fielding a Malay candidate in Kuala Kubu Baru would be the preferred strategy to garner game-changing votes from the majority bloc that is currently split three-way.

Following insistent calls from all political divides for a Malay candidate ahead of nomination day, the observers said the Malay bloc seems to be still undecided despite the seat in Selangor being traditionally won by DAP.

“Malay votes in general are split right now, among Pakatan Harapan (PH), Barisan Nasional (BN) and Perikatan Nasional (PN). Some Malays are undecided. Hence, those who want to put up a Malay candidate are trying to ‘chase’ them.

“About 80 per cent of the non-Malay voters in the constituency will vote for DAP. Malay voters are probably more attracted to the PN,” Nusantara Academy for Strategic Research senior fellow Azmi Hassan told Malay Mail.


In the weeks before PH and PN announced their candidates this week, the Kuala Kubu Baru state constituency has never been one with Malay candidates contesting the seat.

In the recent state elections last year, the candidates were the late Lee Kee Hiong from DAP, Gerakan’s Teoh Kien Hong, Muda’s Siva Prakash Ramasamy and Parti Rakyat Malaysia’s Chng Boon Lai.

Even in the last five state elections, the Kuala Kubu Baru constituency saw only one Malay candidate, which was PAS’ Naharudin Abdul Rashid back in 2018, who gained the least number of votes.


PH has since announced Pang Sock Tao, the press secretary of minister Nga Kor Ming, as its candidate. In response, PN announced a Malay candidate the next day: Hulu Selangor Bersatu acting division chief Khairul Azhari Saut.

The Socialist Party of Malaysia (PSM) and the Malaysian United Democractic Alliance (Muda) announced yesterday they would sit out the by-election.

However, International Islamic University Malaysia’s political analyst Syaza Syukri said that a non-Malay candidate can still win the seat as Kuala Kubu Baru is still a “mixed constituency”.

“I think a Malay candidate could win — not because of their ethnicity but the party that they represent. In other words, I feel Malaysian voters are polarised by parties.

Unity candidate Pang Sock Tao with the leadership during the announcement of her candidacy for the Kuala Kubu Baru by-election at the DAP Operations Centre, Kuala Kubu Baru, April 24, 2024. — Picture by Sayuti Zainudin
Unity candidate Pang Sock Tao with the leadership during the announcement of her candidacy for the Kuala Kubu Baru by-election at the DAP Operations Centre, Kuala Kubu Baru, April 24, 2024. — Picture by Sayuti Zainudin

“But I also see the talk about DAP proposing a Malay candidate as an olive branch to the Malays. But I still think it won’t work. So electorally, it might not mean much, but perception-wise, it might add to something for DAP,” she said.

Meanwhile, Singapore Institute of International Affairs senior fellow Oh Ei Sun said that in general, those who vote for DAP or PH are mainly voting based on the party and not candidate preference.

“So it should not make too much of a difference what sort of candidate DAP proposes. Moreover, the chances of DAP winning over more Malay votes by proposing a Malay candidate does not look promising, as most Malays would nevertheless see DAP as a Chinese-controlled party.

“For PN, their chances of getting Chinese votes are next to none, so putting up a Malay candidate can perhaps further increase their already sizeable Malay support,” he said.

The candidates were announced following leaders from both sides of the political divide such as Umno president Datuk Seri Ahmad Zahid Hamidi and PN’s election director Datuk Seri Muhammad Sanusi Md Nor asserting that the constituency had seen an increase in Malay voters in recent times.

Currently, the Malay community in Kuala Kubu Baru makes up 46 per cent of voters, compared to Chinese voters at 30.6 per cent.

This represents a significant shift from 2018 when Malays made up 44 per cent of voters and Chinese 35 per cent.

Even before its candidates were announced, PN had suggested that fielding a Malay candidate would give them a better chance of securing a win, with Gerakan’s Muniraa Abu Bakar — who previously contested the Bukit Lanjan seat in the state election in August — also named as Khairul Azhari’s alternative.

The Kuala Kubu Baru by-election was triggered by the death of DAP’s three-term assemblyman Lee Kee Hiong on March 21 following a battle with cancer.

The Election Commission (EC) set polling day for the 40,226 voters on May 11, while April 27 is nomination day. Early voting takes place on May 7.

The Kuala Kubu Baru by-election is the seventh by-election to be held after the 15th general election in 2022.