SUNGAI BESAR: The opposition’s harping on 1Malaysia Development Berhad failed to make an impact on the voters of Sungai Besar and Kuala Kangsar, Umno vice-president Hishammuddin Hussein said last night.
He pointed to the victories of the two Barisan Nasional candidates, returned with large majorities, and said the people could now make a judgement despite the issue being played up by opposition parties and former prime minister Dr Mahathir Mohammad.
Hishamuddin took a jibe at Dr Mahathir, saying that reporters should ask Dr Mahathir about whether the two by-elections were a referendum on prime minister Najib Razak, as he had insisted during the campaign.
Hishammuddin said Pakatan Harapan’s loss represented a failure of the so-called referendum on Najib by the voters of Sungai Besar.
“You have to ask him (Mahathir). It’s easy for him to say that the referendum or decision (against Najib) will be made in a certain event at a certain time. Now this has proven to be wrong. You must ask him what his stand about this is,” he said.
Hishammuddin pointed out that the 1MDB issue had been played up from the first day of campaigning “but in the end the voters here made a decision. If a big majority was received by the candidate, despite the issues thrown against us, people can judge whether the issues had an impact or not.”
Hishammuddin spoke to reporters at a press conference at the Dewan Seri Bernam, the election counting centre, after the announcement of the by-election results last night.
Barisan Nasional’s candidate, Budiman Mohd Zuhdi, received 16,800 votes; Amanah’s Azhar Abdul Shukur 7,609; and Dr Abd Rani Osman (PAS) 6,902.
The Election Commission reported that 74.4 percent of 42,836 registered voters in Sungai Besar had cast their votes, a drop from the 88 percent at the last general election.
Hishamuddin was visibly happy with the BN election machinery especially those who had worked with the Chinese community, as they gained a significant vote swing from them.
BN would carry out more research on the voting pattern so that they can learn from it to gain more support from the community.
“I know the component parties worked closely with us at the polling district centre level and I saw how the candidate reached out to voters from other races here. It is a positive sign,” he said.