THAT the Barisan Nasional (BN) would win the Melaka state election was a forgone conclusion, but the manner it retained the state government – by an overwhelming landslide – is the talk among the people, especially Sarawakians.
Umno and its coalition partners of MCA and MIC took 21 of the 28 seats, winning with a comfortable two-thirds majority. BN can form a strong and stable government on its own without having to rely on other parties. The coalition proved many people wrong who thought the days of a two-thirds majority government are long over.
Expect a government that is more racially represented as many had written off MCA and MIC which defied the odds to make a return.
BN can now set its sights on the 15th general election and on returning to power in Putrajaya.
What is significant about the victory is that the voters, especially the Malays, have sent a clear message that they want political stability; and they want Umno back – because it had maintained political stability since 1957 until it was ignominiously toppled by Pakatan Harapan (PH) in the 2018 14th general election.
Voters are also fed up with party-hopping representatives who are the main cause of political instability after 2018. Their message to the frogs is loud and clear: we’re tired of the frog culture!
The defeat of the three assemblymen who were responsible for the state government’s collapse when they joined other parties is proof that voters do not want frogs in the administration.
Parties that accept frogs – including those from Sarawak – should take the cue.
To show that BN means business, its chairman Datuk Seri Dr Ahmad Zahid Hamidi has announced that the coalition will introduce an anti-hopping law and amend the relevant laws to resolve the party-hopping issue among Melaka assemblymen.
The move is seen as a step to ensure the state assembly will last for at least one full term of five years.
When PH came to power one of their pledges was to stop party hoppers but it never materialised.
The Melaka election results showed that Umno was returned to power on a Malay tsunami. While many voted for the opposition in 2018, this time most of the votes went back to the party which voters felt could bring back the stability they once enjoyed.
Meanwhile, contrary to predictions of a low voter turnout of 50 percent on concerns over the Covid-19 pandemic, the polls saw a turnout of over 60 percent.
This is a positive indication that the pandemic might not stop voters from exercising their voting right in the coming Sarawak polls.
One significant outcome of the Melaka polls is the ‘demise’ of PAS in the state. While Perikatan Nasional (PN) was reduced to two seats, its partner PAS was wiped out – reduced to naught from the kingmaker role it once enjoyed.
Voters, including Malays, felt uncomfortable with its policies. If its performance in Melaka is anything to go by, the Islamic party is in for a tough ride come GE15.
Its only hope is to give its full backing to Umno and ride on its popularity.
As for Datuk Seri Anwar Ibrahim’s PKR, the party lost all the 11 seats that it contested. Voters, especially the Chinese, apparently lost faith in the party that they had once supported.
PH’s representation has been reduced to five seats, with DAP winning four and Amanah, one. PH and PN both have to do some soul searching before the next general election which is expected to the called next year, now that BN has won convincingly in Melaka.
Another important point to note is the fact that PH’s online campaigning proved ineffective in rural constituencies.
Umno’s win in rural seats was largely due to its candidates’ personal touch or face-to-face interactions.
According to Malay Mail Online, “although campaign norms, such as walkabouts, house-to-house visits and ceramah, were banned this time around, candidates, including those from Umno, adapted to the situation with small-scale meet-and-greets.
“While all parties have migrated online, with daily talk shows, short text messages and social media posts, Umno and BN had the advantage because they tapped into their network of established community leaders to canvas votes.
“PN tried to do the same, but observation on the ground showed that the coalition still lacks proper machinery even with the backing of PAS. For PH, online campaigns in these seats barely made a dent as internet connectivity remains a huge issue.”
Based on its performance in Melaka, there is no doubt that BN is set to be back in power after GE15.
Now that the Melaka election is over, the focus will soon shift to Sarawak which will have its 12th state election next month.