TANJUNG PIAI - Malaysia's opposition Barisan Nasional (BN) has trounced the ruling coalition Pakatan Harapan (PH) in the Tanjung Piai by-election in Johor, according to official results announced by the Election Commission.
The BN victory meant that the three-party opposition coalition has added a seat to its count in the federal Parliament, while PH lost one.
BN candidate Wee Jeck Seng polled 25,466 votes to PH's Karmaine Sardini's 10,380 votes, in the six-cornered fight.
The other four candidates - comprising two from small opposition parties and two independent candidates, together received fewer than 3,000 votes.
Tanjung Piai is the second ward lost to BN in a by-election, in the nine by-elections called since the May national polls last year. BN also beat PH in a state constituency by-election in Semenyih, Selangor, in March this year.
Located about an hour away by car from Iskandar Puteri (formerly Nusajaya), just north of Singapore's Tuas Second Link, the Tanjung Piai parliamentary constituency has 52,986 voters, consisting of 57 per cent Malays, 42 per cent Chinese and 1 per cent Indian.
The results showed that many Chinese voters picked Mr Wee, who was two-term MP for Tanjung Piai. He won in 2008 with a majority of more than 12,000 votes, and in 2013 (by a majority of more than 5,000 votes).
Mr Wee, who is from BN's Malaysian Chinese Association, narrowly lost to a PH candidate by 524 votes in the May general election in a three-cornered fight that also involved Parti Islam SeMalaysia (PAS).
This time around, Umno-led BN and PAS have become close political allies.
Mr Karmaine is from the same party as Prime Minister Mahathir Mohamad, Parti Pribumi Bersatu Malaysia.
The by-election was called after Tanjung Piai's incumbent MP from PH Md Farik Md Rafik died of a heart attack on Sept 21.