Monday, November 1, 2010

Can PR Win?

Photos show an anti-ISA protest in London on Saturday. It’s good to know that the anti-ISA campaign has moved onto a bigger stage – London!

Polling is this Thursday for both the state seat of Galas in PR-controlled Kelantan and the parliamentary seat of Batu Sapi in BN-controlled Sabah. If you have read the mainstream press, then you will learn that BN holds sway over both seats but when you read many of the blogs, the opposition has supposedly made encouraging inroads.

The Galas seat had traditionally been an UMNO-held constituency, and was ceded by a narrow margin to PAS in 2008. I reckon both parties have an even chance of winning, and whoever wins will scrape through by a small margin. To UMNO especially, the Galas showdown is significant because it is supposed – correctly or not – to reveal the state of Malay ground sentiments at this present time.

The case of Batu Sapi is of greater interest and significance. This contest for a parliamentary seat is the first in the East Malaysian state of Sabah since the 2008 general election and is assumed to be able to give some sign of how the state has been affected by changes in the power balance in peninsular Malaysia. The complication comes in when SAPP’s Yong Teck Lee is pitting not only against the mighty BN coalition from which his party broke away in 2008, but also against the nascent PR, the opposition coalition that his party had subsequently come very close to joining.

Officially, this SAPP decision to go it alone has upset the apple cart. Supposedly, it does not bode well for PR but I beg to differ. Do you know what goes on in Anwar Ibrahim’s mind? It may be just part of a grand strategy to weaken BN’s grip over Sabah – SAPP draws away the non-Muslim and pro-Sabah votes and PR draws away the Muslim votes and secures the anti-BN votes too. I suspect either SAPP or even PR might just sneak in and claim victory. Again, I reckon whoever wins will do so by a small margin.

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