PKR retains Sg Kandis amid low voter turnout

PKR candidate Zawawi Ahmad Mughni, seen here with his wife, is the new state assemblyman for Sungai Kandis. (Bernama pic)

SHAH ALAM: PKR has won the Sungai Kandis by-election, seen as the Pakatan Harapan government’s first test since its general election victory three months ago.

PKR’s Mohd Zawawi Ahmad Mughni got 15,423 votes, defeating Barisan Nasional (BN) candidate Lokman Noor Adam, who obtained 9,585 votes. A third candidate, K Murthy, who is an Independent, got only 97 votes.

In the May 9 polls, the late Mat Shuhaimi Shafiei of PKR got 23,998 votes, defeating candidates from Umno and PAS who together got a total of 19,091 votes.

As polling centres closed at 5.30pm, the Election Commission reported a turnout of only 49.4%, down from the 85% turnout recorded on May 9. There are 51,217 registered voters in Sungai Kandis.

Umno’s Lokman went to the battle this time on a platform of “Malay and Islam”, a theme aimed at mobilising perceived Malay disenchantment with the ruling coalition, as well as attracting votes from supporters of PAS.

The Islamist party stayed out of the contest this time, saying it did not want to split opposition votes.

The days leading up to polling day saw top leaders from PH and BN taking part in campaigning, including Najib Razak, despite the former prime minister resigning all positions from Umno and BN.