The PR had won all four by-elections in the peninsula since last year’s polls with a bigger majority.
In all four, the BN used a race-based strategy.
The opposition PR couched its battle as a class war – the masses versus the elite. The PR’s message is clearly more appealing, albeit more to the non-Malays. But there are enough Malays who will support it, partly due to the pull of component member Parti Islam SeMalaysia.
… the PR’s improved majority would mean that the Malay vote could not have moved much to Umno, if at all.
Calculations suggest that it would not be more than two percentage points towards Umno if non-Malay support for BN plunged by about 5 per cent.
Umno had gone to great lengths to paint the PR candidate Nizar Jamaluddin, the former Perak menteri besar, as a Chinese stooge.
It played on the Malay insecurities by calling Nizar a traitor for challenging the Sultan of Perak’s refusal to call for snap elections after the PR government was toppled by the BN in February.
Bukit Gantang is still the most significant seat because it has the most direct link to Datuk Seri Najib. The Premier is seen as responsible for toppling the opposition-led Perak government last month, and the by-election was seen as the test of the people’s verdict on the new government.
Overall, the BN will not be seen a winner last night. – Straits Times
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