SHAH ALAM • Malaysia's ruling Pakatan Harapan (PH) alliance retained its seats in two by-elections in Selangor yesterday.
Candidates from two PH component parties - Democratic Action Party (DAP) and Parti Keadilan Rakyat (PKR) - won the Balakong state-assembly ward and the Seri Setia constituency, respectively.
The majority polled by both candidates dropped as expected due to the low voter turnout, which was estimated to be below 50 per cent. The poor turnout was caused by voter fatigue as the by-elections, the second and third such in Selangor, were held just four months after the hard-fought general election in May.
The Selangor state assembly, like the federal Parliament, is controlled by PH.
The by-elections were held because of the deaths of two PH lawmakers; one died in a vehicle accident and the other died of cancer.
A major factor in the twin by-elections was how some leaders of the Malaysian Chinese Association (MCA) - a member of the opposition Barisan Nasional coalition - had appeared beside leaders of Parti Islam SeMalaysia (PAS) during the campaign, with Umno acting as broker. The MCA had over the years denounced fellow opposition party PAS for pushing a narrow Islamist agenda, but had to rely on both its Barisan partner Umno and PAS to gain Malay votes in Balakong.
In Seri Setia, Umno stood back and allowed PAS to contest in a one-on-one fight against PH.
Leaders of Umno and PAS, both Malay dominated parties, say the electoral understanding in these by-elections could lead to a broader informal agreement in Parliament and other by-elections.
In Balakong, official results show that PH's Ms Wong Siew Ki had garnered 22,508 votes against 3,975 votes for MCA's Mr Tan Chee Teong.
In Seri Setia, PH's Mr Halimey Abu Bakar won with 13,725 votes, while PAS candidate Dr Halimah Ali received 9,698 votes.