Rantau was not the total disaster for the ruling coalition it has been made out to be, writes Anil Netto.
While the BN’s winning majority of 4,510 in the Rantau by-election yesterday might look large, it was actually a reduced majority compared to its 2013 general election winning majority of 4,613. (BN had won unopposed in the 2018 general election when the PKR candidate was sensationally disqualified.)
What may have gone unnoticed is that PKR’s share of the valid votes cast in Rantau has actually increased since the 2004 general election.
Share of PKR votes over total valid votes:
- 2004 – 18.6%
- 2008 – 33.8%
- 2013 – 35.3%
- 2018 – Disqualified
- 2019 – 36.5%
A steady increase there – despite Pas no longer being in Pakatan Harapan after 2013 and Dr S Streram being an outsider to the area. So it is not all doom and gloom. After all, BN lost half a dozen by-elections on the trot after the 2008 general election – and yet retained power in the 2013 general election.
That said, as Dr Jeyakumar Devaraj noted some time ago, ” The very survival of the PH government and the reform process that it is trying to implement beyond the next general election will hinge on how successfully the economic anxieties of the bottom 40% are allayed over the next four years.”
PH politicians really must look into the economic insecurities of the people, especially the bottom 20% of the population. Jeyakumar has proposed some concrete steps which should be implemented.
Of course, any new policies or reforms must be explained to the rakyat properly. If necessary, townhouse meetings should be held to get feedback as well.
Meanwhile, get rid of those neoliberal economic policies. Dump the MySalam scheme, the third car project and all other questionable mega projects. Focus on the bottom 40%, high food prices, the lack of low-income housing, the long waits at general hospitals…