GEORGE TOWN, April 24 — Analysts believe that Barisan Nasional (BN) does not stand a fighting chance in Bukit Gelugor, and even said it may not be worth the ruling pact’s time to contest the seat just vacated by the DAP’s “Tiger of Jelutong” Karpal Singh.
Two observers told The Malay Mail Online that it makes little difference who the DAP leadership fields for the contest as Karpal’s army of supporters will almost certainly ensure their constituency remains with the opposition party.
“It is not even worth it for MCA to contest in the by-election because it is definite that they will not be able to wrest the seat back from DAP,” Institute for Democracy and Economic Affairs (IDEAS) Malaysia chief executive officer Wan Saiful Wan Jan said.
“This is a very safe DAP seat, everyone knows this,” he said.
The Bukit Gelugor parliamentary seat was vacated after Karpal was killed in a road crash on April 17.
The prominent lawyer’s death resulted in an outpouring of grief from Penangites and Malaysians which culminated in a funeral procession that was attended by about 25,000 people last Sunday.
In the 2013 general election, Karpal retained the seat with a whopping 41,778-vote majority by garnering a total of 55,839 votes against MCA’s Teh Beng Yam who only garnered a total of 14,061 votes.
In the 2008 general elections, Karpal won the seat by garnering a total of 35,140 votes, a 21,015-vote majority against MCA’s Datuk Koay Kar Huah’s 14,125 votes.
Merdeka Center’s Ibrahim Suffian agreed with Wan Saiful that DAP will most likely retain the seat, adding that there would likely be very little difference in the results of the May 25 by-election.
He also agreed that voters in Bukit Gelugor would not be picking the candidate when they cast their ballots next month but the party. Their choice, he said, will likely be the DAP.
“MCA will still need to contest just to show their presence, to highlight issues and to show that they are still relevant,” he said.
The constituency consists of mainly ethnic Chinese voters (74 per cent), followed by Malays (14 per cent) and ethnic Indians (10 per cent).
There are 82,431 voters in the mainly residential constituency where all its three state seats — Seri Delima, Air Itam and Paya Terubong – are held by DAP.
Wan Saiful the only difference this time around will be the voter turnout. Unlike in Election 2013, the analyst predicted a lower turnout, similar to the last few by-elections held after the federal polls.
“This will mean less voters so it is normal to expect lesser majority votes for DAP but I believe their percentage of majority votes against the number of voter turnout will be about the same as the general elections last year,” he said.
Last year, during the general elections, the voter turnout was 86.3 per cent, with 70,691 of the 81,897 registered voters having turned up to cast their votes.
The by-election is fixed for May 25 while nomination is on May 12.