KUALA KUBU BARU, April 25 — Voting has ended in Hulu Selangor by-election, with the Barisan Nasional (BN) camp the most optimistic of victory in what was the most keenly contested poll since Election 2008.
Sources in the BN campaign told The Malaysian Insider that they are confident their candidate P Kamalanathan has clinched victory by at least a 1,500 vote majority.
Earlier Tan Sri Muhyiddin Yassin had set a target of winning the federal seat by a 6,000 vote majority.
PKR sources say their camp was also cautiously optimistic their candidate Datuk Zaid Ibrahim had won by a slim majority.
Counting of votes is set to begin shortly under tight security.
Selangor’s first by-election since Election 2008 was called following the March 25 death of PKR’s Datuk Dr Zainal Abidin Ahmad, who won the seat by a slim 198-vote majority over four-term MP and MIC deputy president Datuk G. Palanivel.
Both BN and Pakatan Rakyat (PR) have stake their respective reputations in the contest which observers see as a bellwether of how the vote may go in the next general elections.
Prime Minister Datuk Seri Najib Razak has also put his own reputation and career on the line by calling the by-election a referendum on his year-old administration.
At the end of polling, total voter turnout stood at 75.8 per cent of the electorate, just short of the Election Commission’s (EC) prediction of 80 per cent.
This means that a total of 48,935 voters turned out from the total of 64,500.
Observers point out that BN must win big today to justify Najib’s personal involvement in the campaign.
In an unprecedented move, the prime minister himself has led the campaign to ensure Kamalanathan defeats Zaid.
BN has consistently won the seat with at least a 8,500-vote majority since 1990 when Palanivel began the first of his four terms in the constituency the size of Malacca.
For the current campaign, BN has given close to RM60 million in a combination of projects and cash awards to win over the majority of the 64,500 voters in the traditionally pro-BN constituency, which comprises three state seats won by BN in Election 2008.
Anything less than a 3,000-vote majority, ironically predicted by independent Pasir Mas MP Datuk Ibrahim Ali, will be a slap in the face for Najib and BN.
Voting over in tight race