KUALA LUMPUR, Oct 14 — Datuk Seri Anwar Ibrahim may have won by a country mile but Datuk Seri Abdul Hadi Awang insisted that the low voter turnout in yesterday’s Port Dickson by-election relative to that of GE14 was a “sign of protest” against the ruling Pakatan Harapan (PH) coalition.
The turnout in yesterday’s parliamentary race stood at 58.3 per cent compared to 83.6 per cent in the May 9 general election.
However, the Port Dickson poll saw the highest turnout among the four by-elections; the other three — Sungai Kandis, Balakong and Seri Setia — drew under 50 per cent voters.
The PAS president, whose party candidate lost to Anwar, said the protest was due to the government’s supposed failure to fulfil its general election pledges and a sign of discontent against self-serving politicians.
“The low voter turnout was a sign of protest towards the Pakatan Harapan (PH) government that has failed in executing its manifesto and reflects the boycott from the people against politics based on self-interest.
“PAS respects the decision of the people in the Port Dickson by-election, that was forced to be held due to an individual’s self-interest,” he said in a statement to Harakah, the Islamist party’s newspaper.
Abdul Hadi said PAS remains committed to upholding justice and the rule of law, while ensuring that the welfare of the people is taken care of.
He had also thanked the voters in the constituency, who showed an increased support for PAS in comparison to the 14th general election.
PAS’ candidate Lt Col (Rtd) Mohd Nazari Mokhtar garnered 7,456 votes in yesterday’s by-election, whereas the GE14 PAS candidate Mahfuz Roslan amassed 6,594 votes.
PKR president-elect Anwar won the Port Dickson seat with a total of 31,016 votes, easily beating the 7,456 polled by runner-up, PAS candidate Mohd Nazari.
Anwar’s margin of victory is also 23,560 votes, easily eclipsing former MP Datuk Danyal Balagopal Abdullah’s 17,710-vote majority on May 9.
Former minister Tan Sri Mohd Isa Abdul Samad limped in at third with 4,230 votes, followed by independent candidates Stevie Chan (337 votes), Lau Seck Yan (214) and Kan Chee Yuen (154).
Anwar’s Sodomy II accuser, Mohd Saiful Bukhari Azlan, came in last with just 82 ballots.
Apart from Anwar and Mohd Nazari, the other five contenders lost their election deposits.