SEREMBAN: Umno’s acting president, Mohamad Hasan, has credited the youth vote for his 4,510-vote margin in winning the Rantau by-election tonight. He said young people voted for Barisan Nasional because they are disappointed with Pakatan Harapan.
Mohamad said BN had been worried about how young people would vote, but was glad that the youth vote had turned out to be a blessing.
“Young people are dynamic, not static, and they see and are sensitive to the political environment,” he said at a press conference after the election results were announced at SJK(C) Bandar Seri Sendayan, which served as vote tabulation centre.
“Before this, they have been so impressed with the promises (made by PH in their GE14 manifesto). But now the Pakatan Harapan government cannot implement their promises and the youth are disappointed,” he said.
Tonight’s by-election results was a form of referendum, he said. Mohamad (known casually as Tok Mat) garnered 10,397 votes tonight, defeating S. Streram (PH-PKR) who obtained 5,887 votes.
Rantau has been a traditional BN stronghold, and Mohamad has been the Rantau assemblyman for three terms. He was Negeri Sembilan menteri besar for 14 years.
Mohamad thanked the BN election machinery as well as members of MCA, MIC, Makkal Sakti and PAS, which is now alligned with Umno.
He said tonight’s result had been unexpected as there was a general expectation that most non-Malay votes would go to PH.
This is BN’s third by-election victory this year.
Mohamad said BN would continue to be a check and balance on PH, which he said was a poor administration and had many problems.
BN could play an important role to rap the government of the day for not governing properly, and as an opposition bloc, with PAS and other parties, keep Pakatan Harapan in check.
He said PH had been in federal power for almost a year, “but it looks like our country is regressing and not moving forward especially in the economy. That is causing problems of unemployment as the government cannot deliver on jobs as promised.”
Mohamad said the next step for BN was to focus on the by-election in Sandakan, Sabah. “We try our best,” he said. “We are confident”.
He said the many accusations hurled at him during the campaign had backfired on PH as the people had become fed up with their lack of direction and not just the alleged wrongdoings of former prime minister Najib Razak.
“It was as if Najib was the one contesting,” he said.
He added that there should no longer be any no question of Umno MPs jumping ship, now that Umno and BN were becoming stronger.
In a statement tonight, Umno vice-president Mohamed Khaled Nordin said Tok Mat’s victory shows that the Umno-PAS alliance was growing “organically” and the BN-led opposition bloc must continue to work together to help people left disappointed by the government’s failure.
Khaled, the former Johor menteri besar, said voters were beginning to assess the ruling coalition’s failures, despite Putrajaya’s attempts to cover up their missteps.