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Mar 9, 2008



ZERO OPPOSITION? What a nightmare it has been for out-going Selangor Mentri Besar Datuk Seri Dr Mohd Khir Toyo as the developed State falls into the hands of the DAP, PKR and PAS.

Not only has Mohamad Khir’s efforts to wipe out the Opposition in Selangor has fallen far from target, the opposition has all but cleaned up Barisan Nasional (BN) in the state that last fell into opposition hands in 1969.

In spite of winning his own state seat Sungai Panjang, everything is not okay for Mohamad Khir as the swing in the popular votes was felt from the shores of Tanjung Karang to the office towers of Petaling Jaya as the Opposition took 35 of the 56 state seats and (at press time) 13 of the 22 parliamentary seats.

The winds of change blew loud and clear, sending the message that the people have had enough of the reports of abuse of power at the local council level, land-grabs by the well-connected, lack of transparency in spending taxpayers’ monies and arbitrary and ill-researched reasons for raising assessment.

With the DAP, PKR and PAS in power, it is hoped that the winners will now keep true to their promise of a more transparent and accountable state government and local authority by introducing local council elections.

There is already talk of initiating and resurrecting corruption investigations into a number of questionable deals involving now former executive and local councillors.

The opposition campaign which played on these issues had struck a chord with the electorate exposed to news reports of abuses of power by assemblymen such as Port Klang representative Datuk Zakaria Md Deros, whose daughter-in-law Roselinda Abd Jamil, who replaced him, lost the seat to PKR’s Badrul Hisham Abdullah.

Major casualties at Parliament level include MIC No. 2 Datuk G. Palanivel, who lost to former deputy mentri besar, PKR’s Dr Zainal Abidin Ahmad in Hulu Selangor; MCA Selangor chief Datuk Ch’ng Toh Eng to DAP’s Charles Santiago in Klang; Wanita MCA deputy chief Datin Paduka Chew Mei Fun to DAP’s Tony Pua in PJ Utara; MCA vice-president Datuk Donald Lim Siang Chai to PKR’s Hee Loy Sian in PJ Selatan; MIC Youth chief S.A Vigneswaran to PAS’s Dr Siti Mariah Mahmud in Kota Raja and MIC Wanita chief Datin Paduka P. Komala Devi to PKR’s S. Manikavasagam in Kapar.

BN’s state defeats include Ijok – Datuk Sayuti Mohamed Sayuti Said to Tan Sri Khalid Ibrahim, who is tipped to become mentri besar; MCA incumbent Datuk Teh Kim Poo to DAP’s Ronnie Liu in Pandamaran, and Seri Andalas where three-term incumbent Kamala Ganapathy lost to Dr Xavier Jayakumar of the PKR.

The biggest coup was probably Kota Alam Shah where a candidate won in absentia – M. Manoharan of the DAP who is under ISA detention defeated Gerakan’s Ching Su Chen.

The few BN incumbents still carrying the torch for the opposition is MCA vice-president Datuk Ong Tee Keat in Pandan, albeit by a reduced majority.

The demolishing of MIC candidates is seen as a retort from the Indian community over its lack of focus on Indian issues compounded by a string of temple demolitions by the state authorities, which the party was seen as condoning.

Needless to say, preliminary results show that almost 95% of the Indian votes went to the Opposition.

BN also lost many Malay votes, with many middle-class voters miffed with the high cost of living and the more affluent Chinese community displeased over issues that touched on civil liberties – depicted by the almost wipe-out of MCA and Gerakan in favour of civil rights campaigners such as Santiago in Klang and Edward Lee in Bukit Gasing.

It must not be forgotten that the rise on water tariffs as dictated by Syabas through the privatisation of water was also an election manifesto by the Opposition, especially Santiago, who heads a water rights movement.

As such, many incumbents who lost such as Teh Kim Poo attribute their defeat to national issues, as their track recorded was impeccable.

“There is nothing for me to feel sad about as the national issues had a big role in the outcome of this elections,” he said.

While the BN blames the Opposition, it must realise by now that the bigger enemy is from within, as over the last 13 days tales of bickering and sabotage began to merge. One example is in Pandan where Umno, Gerakan and MCA divisions were not supportive.

So while the BN reels from this shock defeat, it will be good for their leaders, forced out of their ivory ­towers, to take stock of the results and finally start listening to the people and as we have seen, from within the party, if there is any hope of regaining ruling Selangor again.


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