Analyst: Rantau defeat puts Anwar on the spot

An analyst says voters were not swayed by the presence of bigwigs from the ruling coalition.

PETALING JAYA: The Rantau by-election result does not augur well for PKR president Anwar Ibrahim as it shows that non-Malay voters are losing faith with Pakatan Harapan, according to a political analyst.

Lecturer Kamarul Zaman Yusoff said Rantau was a multi-racial constituency and although PKR was a multi-racial party, “it looks like the Indian voters did not go all out to support the PKR candidate”.

PKR fielded anaesthetist Dr Streram Sinnasamy against acting Umno president and former menteri besar Mohamad Hasan of Barisan Nasional. Mohamad won by a majority of 4,510 votes.

“It shows the Indians are unhappy. It is the same with Malays who have been voting against PH, ” Kamarul Zaman told FMT.

He said PH should examine why the ruling coalition was losing ground, as even a big wig like Anwar could not convince the voters to choose PKR.

Rantau’s electorate is evenly divided into 52% Malays and 48% non-Malays.

Kamarul Zaman said the other reason for the PH defeat in Rantau was the choice of candidate.

He said Anwar should have known Mohamad (or Tok Mat) “is a big personality, he should have fielded an equally big personality”. PH would need to place winnable candidates against BN big wigs.

He said Anwar should have made sure that his party did not field an underdog for Rantau, because of the equal racial composition.

Mohamad has been Rantau assemblyman for three terms and menteri besar of Negeri Sembilan, his home state, for 14 years.

“The non-Malays are aware that Umno is working with PAS and yet they voted for BN; people are becoming more confident with BN,” he added.

The Rantau by-election comes a month before another, in the parliamentary seat of Sandakan, Sabah, on May 11. The seat fell vacant with the death of two term MP Stephen Wong Tien Fatt, who was Sabah DAP chairman.