APRIL 14 — Former Minister in the Prime Minister’s Department, Datuk Zaid Ibrahim, said last month that he missed the Parliament very much and he had a strong will to return.
It was an obvious hint and just as expected, he was chosen the PKR candidate for the Hulu Selangor by-election, making the by-election more worth concerning.
Compared to BN, PKR is more unable to afford losing the by-election.
PKR cannot afford to lose the by-election based on a few reasons.
Firstly, it is related to whether BN is able to retrieve the two-thirds majority in the Parliament. After a few PKR Members of Parliaments (MPs) have resigned and being sacked from the party, BN needs another six seats to gain the two-third majority.
If BN wins the Hulu Selangor by-election, it may lead to another wave of party withdrawal, allowing BN to redraw constituency boundaries, which is unfavourable to Pakatan Rakyat (PR).
Secondly, if BN wins, it may be a breakthrough for BN in Selangor that boosts its momentum. It will be very difficult for PR to defend its state power. Selangor is a prosperous state rich in political resources. Both the ruling and oppositions parties will try their best to gain it.
Thirdly, it is a test for PR’s direction and support rate.
PR is facing the threat of Prime Minister Datuk Seri Najib Razak’s increasing prestige, as well as the racial strategies of Umno. Would PR lose Malay votes? Would non-Malay votes return to BN?
It will be a blow to PR if it loses the by-elections.
Fourthly, it is related to the dignity of opposition leader Datuk Seri Anwar Ibrahim. There are a lot of problems within PKR and Anwar’s reputation has plummeted. He needs to prove his leadership through the by-election. If he loses the by-election, it will be harder for him to fight in the Sibu by-election, let alone the Sarawak state power.
Zaid is having a high prestige among non-Malay communities. He joined PKR as Umno did not accept his judicial reform plan. He has been labelled as the “reformist of the Malay community”.
His book, “I, Too, Am Malay” reflected his open-mindedness which is very different with Malay rights group Perkasa. The country’s reform will no longer a dream if there are more politicians like him in the Malay community.
He is the candidate with the best chance to win but there is still a certain risk. As we all know, the situation is favourable to BN. If he loses, it will weaken his prestige. It is not long to go for the next general election, it will be quite difficult for him to contest in the general elections if he loses this time.
Chinese voters can accept Zaid, but how about conservative Malay voters?
It is expected that Chinese-oriented political party will stress on Najib’s leadership when they are trying to fish Chinese votes. If they do not support the Prime Minister, conservative forces within the party will rise. Chinese voters will be in a dilemma.
Based on the current situation, BN may win but it will be troublesome, particularly in candidate selection. MIC insists to recommend only its Deputy President Datuk G. Palanivel while local Umno wants Hulu Selangor MIC Youth Chief V. Mugilan to be the candidate. If MIC boycott the electioneering, they will lose Indian votes.
In addition, too many of controversial racial and religious issues, including the recent dispute over the Inter-Faith Committee, will affect swing votes.
Regardless of what is the result of the by-election, the winner should be the one stressing on multi-races. It is the people’s victory only after racism is defeated. — mysinchew
* This is the personal opinion of the writer or publication. The Malaysian Insider does not endorse the view unless specified.
The fate of Zaid Ibrahim — Lim Sue Goan