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By Geryl Ogilvy
KUCHING, Feb 5: Pakatan Harapan, still reeling from its loss in the Cameron Highlands by-election, will have to win the March 2 Semenyih poll at all cost.
Kapit MP Datuk Alexander Nanta Linggi said that if Pakatan failed to retain the Semenyih state seat (Selangor), the loss could be perceived as voters losing patience with the federal government especially when it came to fulfilling election promises.
If the results did not favour Pakatan, he added Gabungan Parti Sarawak (GPS) must take advantage of the outcome by convincing Sarawakians that confidence in the Pakatan government was waning amongst the electorates in the peninsula.
“The Semenyih by-election might not have a direct impact on Sarawak politics at this point in time but if they lose the by-election, GPS should take this opportunity to convince our people that Pakatan is not what the people expected them to be.
“Even if Pakatan were to win by a small margin or reduced majority, it is still considered a setback compared to what they have done (winning Putrajaya in GE14),” the GPS secretary-general told reporters at Sarawak United People’s Party (SUPP) Chinese New Year open house here today.
Nanta believed that there was a general feeling of dissatisfaction amongst the people with the performance of the new government thus far.
“Pakatan may have promised too much before the general election, and when you promise too much, it is difficult to fulfill all especially when the people had high expectations before GE14.
“When you cannot deliver, it is only natural that the people feel short-changed and the constituents (in Semenyih) might use this opportunity to express their feelings towards the government,” he continued.
While the connection between the results of the Semenyih by-election and Sarawak politics is at its minimum for now, Nanta reminded that GPS, with its “Sarawak First” slogan, was putting focus on the needs of Sarawakians.
“Of course the state Pakatan will fight it out with GPS-led Sarawak government come state election but (as an opposing state), it is only natural that we hope for Pakatan to lose in the Semenyih by-election,” he said.
Nanta opined that a win for Barisan Nasional will be a morale booster that could aid in winning the people’s trust in preparation for the next general election.
“At the time of the general election last May, electorates were impressed with Pakatan’s election manifesto. I believe that it is possible the result could go to Barisan, but at the same time, it is up to Pakatan to fight and retain the seat,” he said.
The Semenyih seat fell vacant following the death of its incumbent Bakhtiar Mohd Nor on Jan 11 from a heart attack. He was 57.
In the 14th general election, Bakhtiar of Parti Pribumi Bersatu Malaysia garnered 23,428 votes to win the seat in a four-cornered fight with a 8,964-vote majority. He defeated candidates from Barisan, PAS and Parti Sosialis Malaysia. — DayakDaily