The significance of the Balakong and Seri Setia by-elections
The results of the Balakong and Seri Setia by-elections in Selangor on Sept. 8 will not change the Selangor State Government but their importance and significance far outweigh the outcome of two State Assembly by-elections in Selangor.
In fact, they will be regarded as a barometer for Malaysian politics, not only in Selangor, but throughout the country for the next few years.
It is an open secret that UMNO leaders are working for an end to the Pakatan Harapan Government in as short as two years, and the outcome of the two by-elections in Selangor will by used by the UMNO leaders as a yardstick as to whether their plot and conspiracy to engineer the disintegration of the Pakatan Harapan government before its current term is a futile and even puerile one.
The new UMNO President, Datuk Seri Zahid Hamidi, is on public record as saying in May after the UMNO Supreme Council meeting that he believed that the Barisan Nasional would be able to make a comeback.
UMNO Secretary-General Tan Sri Annuar Musa was more frank and forthright later when he said openly that the Pakatan Harapan government would not last its current term, speculating that it would disintegrate in two years’ time.
But it was Barisan Nasional which disintegrated faster, in fact within a month of Zahid’s prognosis, and nobody knows today whether Barisan Nasional exists or not, as both MCA and MIC – two of the three remaining parties which have not openly declared quitting BN - are both quite ambivalent on this issue, as if they dare not quit BN without permission from UMNO.
UMNO has given permission MCA to use the MCA logo in the Balakong by-election, but this is a big step back to the past not a leap into the future.
However, UMNO leaders are still plotting a comeback to Putrajaya, banking on the disintegration of Pakatan Harapan in two years or at least before the 15th General Election – and this is the reason for the politicking of the Opposition parties in post-14GE, the unholy alliance between UMNO and PAS, and the uneven more unholy alliance between PAS and MCA with PAS President Datuk Hadi Awang openly calling on PAS members to vote for the MCA candidate in the Balakong by-election.
The 100-Day issue will feature prominently in the two by-elections, whether Pakatan Harapan has succeeded or failed in the 14th General Election to initiate long-awaited changes in Malaysian politics and system of governance.
More important than a report card of whether the Pakatan Harapan has fulfilled specific proposals in 100 days is whether the Malaysian ship of state had made a critical turn of direction from a trajectory of a failed, kleptocratic and kakistocratic state to a trajectory of greater national unity, integrity, democracy, rule of law and excellence, and whether the voters should use the two by-elections to give a ringing endorsement to Pakatan Harapan to proceed with these changes and not to backtrack or to give the Opposition parties ammunition to block these changes.
MCA President Datuk Low Tiong Lai, has given a “D” grade for Pakatan Harapan’s first 100 Days in power, remarkably similar to the mark given by the PAS Deputy President, Tuan Ibrahim Tuan Man.
It was an act of remarkable audacity and insolence for Liew to pass such a judgment as Liew had led MCA to the worst electoral defeat in the party’s 69-year history, from a party at its height with four Ministers, eight Deputy Ministers, 31 elected Members of Parliament and 76 State Assembly representatives in the 2004 General Election to a party with only zero Minister, zero Deputy Minister, 1 parliamentary and 2 State Assembly seats in the 2018 General Election!
But what is even more startling is not just the convergence of grading for the 100 Days but the remarkable convergence of interests of MCA and PAS in the Balakong by-election, although PAS is stronger than MCA in Balakong as shown by the 14th General Election result where the PAS candidate, with 6,230 votes, beat the MCA candidate who polled only 5,874 votes, although both PAS and MCA candidates lost their deposits with DAP’s Eddie Ng Tien Chee polling 41,768 votes.
There is an added reason for a high turnout of voters in Balakong – as a great send-off by the voters of Balakong for the exemplary service and dedication of Eddie Ng who was two-term State Assemblyman for Balakong.
DAP and the people of Balakong had given Eddie Ng a heart-felt and great send-off during his funeral on his untimely passing, but there cannot be a greater send-off than a thunderous vote of appreciation to Eddie Ng than during the Balakong by-election, and endorsement of his replacement, the DAP/PH candidate, Wong Siew Ki.
I urge the voters of Balakong to come out in greater numbers on by-election polling day of Sept. 8 than during the 14GE to make a vote for DAP/BN as a farewell vote for Eddie Ng.