KAJANG: Najib Razak has described Barisan Nasional’s (BN) victory in the Semenyih by-election today as a sign of the “people rising” against the Pakatan Harapan (PH) government, while a PKR leader admits that it could be the people’s way of showing displeasure over the slow pace of promised reforms.
The former prime minister also asked if the government would now fulfil its various election pledges to Semenyih voters, including its promise to build a hospital in the state constituency.
“It cannot be that all of a sudden, Semenyih no longer needs clinics, hospitals or good roads.
“Let us wait and see if the promises are honest or come with conditions,” he said in comments on his Facebook just minutes after the Election Commission announced the results of the by-election.
BN’s Zakaria Hanafi won with a 1,914-vote majority, getting 19,780 votes against PH’s Muhammad Aiman Zainali who got 17,866 votes. Two other candidates, PSM’s Nik Aziz Afiq Abdul and independent Kuan Chee Hong, got 847 votes and 725 votes respectively.
It is the former ruling coalition’s second victory in a by-election since losing power last year.
On Jan 26, it won the Cameron Highlands federal seat, after losing four by-elections in Selangor and Negeri Sembilan.
PKR vice-president Tian Chua said the outcome of today’s by-election showed that voters were wise in using their power to send a message to the ruling party.
“Malaysians are wise to chart the political direction through elections. It means we have to work harder, to make sure the support for us remains,” he told FMT.
He said there had been a swing of support in favour of BN, as those who supported PH during the general election felt that promised reforms had not been forthcoming.
“This is democracy, to give a message to any party to always prioritise the people’s problems,” he added.
Najib, who had actively campaigned in Semenyih under his new tagline “Bossku”, suggested that BN had gone to the by-election as an underdog.
“The Barisan Nasional machinery was not only against Pakatan Harapan but also the entire government machinery and the resources of the federal and state governments,” he said.
He urged the voters in Semenyih to demand what had been promised during the campaign period.
“Don’t allow the government to continue their empty talk to fish for votes,” he said.