The two bukits- Bukit Selambau and Bukit Gantang was retained by Pakatan. Some argue that it does not mean anything since it merely reaffirms status quo. I beg to disagree.
One must not overlook the fact that these two seats fell into Pakatan hands ONLY since March 8, 2008. This, therefore means that the constituents of both the bukits are comfortable with the Pakatan and they have showed this by giving increased majorities to the Pakatan candidates.
Bukit Selambau is a Malay-majority seat. Arumugam, an independent, won in 2008 and was converted into the opposition candidate. Bukit Selambau has 34,977 voters with about 50 per cent of them Malays, 30 per cent Indians and 20 per cent Chinese.
The Bukit Gantang seat, an Umno stronghold, was once held by Gerakan’s Tan Lian Hoe as part of the BN seat sharing formula.
Bukit Gantang 2008 ethnic composition
Malay Malaysians 63.5%
Chinese Malaysians 27.1%
Indian Malaysians 9.1%
Other Malaysians 0.2%
(Thanks to thenutgraph.com)
BN must stand up to the fact that something drastically has changed since March 2008. BN’s label can no longer guarantee any electoral victory. If this trend continues, it is very possible that what almost everyone perceives will come true – come the 13th general elections, the BN will lose power. Can the BN reverse its trend?
It is important to note that there had been 3 “major changes” and events prior to the by-election in the two Bukits –
1. Najib is now PM with his 1Malaysia concept,
2. He had ordered the release of 13 ISA detainees
3. Dr Mahathir is now back into UMNO.
It appears that these events do not have any bearing on the constituents of the two Bukits in influencing their voting.
Can BN reverse this trend? I am calling it a trend because to date, I cannot for the life of me see any real, tangible and wholesome effort by BN and those affiliated to it in trying to win back the MALAYSIAN TRUST. On one hand, I see that when leaders like Dato Seri Najib make a good policy statement like “1Malaysia”, then you have some else affiliated to BN/UMNO playing up the racial and religious card – example, like someone making a police report and playing up the issue of a non-Muslim “insulting Islam”.
As long as this “one-step-forward-four-steps-backward” culture in UMNO continues, it will be designing its own doom.
At the expense of being repetitious, UMNO has to reinvent itself.
Is that possible with the same ingrained mentality, tendencies, hierarchical behaviors and modes of thinking it has?