PRK Rantau: A stern message for PH
Sin Chew Daily
The defeat of Pakatan Harapan in Rantau by-election is within everyone's anticipation and is easily understandable.
Barisan Nasional candidate Mohamad Hasan has been highly popular and established in this constituency of which he has been the elected rep for three terms. He obviously has an advantage over his PH challenger Dr S Streram who lacks the connection and has been trailing far behind since the start of the campaign.
Of course, a more serious issue is that PH has lost the momentum from last year's general elections and has indeed incurred much public wrath since then.
The election outcome shows that Mohammad Hasan won 10,397 votes to retain the Rantau seat, far ahead of Streram's 5,887 votes.
The by-election results are anything but surprising. That said, the underlying message is too big to be ignored, especially to PH. It should sound a loud alarm bell to the ruling coalition.
Sure enough BN's victory in Rantau has a lot to do with Mohamad Hasan's connection there, but the poor showing of PH also plays a critical role.
PH enjoyed exceptionally strong public reception during the early days of the new government. However, with the economy hardly seeing any improvement over the subsequent months, and the disenchanted public begin to feel impatient, the ruling coalition could no longer bask in the same euphoria any longer.
Along the way the performance of some ministers has been unsatisfactory, including the insistence of entrepreneurship development minster Mohd Redzuan Yusof to develop the flying car.
Voters are also unhappy with the PH government for not fulfilling some of its election pledges, including the recognition of UEC certificate.
As if that is not enough, the repeated policy reversals to a certain extent have reflected the government's poor administrative capability.
There are reasons why PH's popularity has waned over the months. It is therefore imperative that the government seriously look into this and make amends in order to win back the trust of the people.
To be fair, the performance of the PH government has not been that bad after all. As a matter of fact, it has introduced a number of reforms and has injected a new lease of life into the corrupt and antiquated system.
Unfortunately, the voters have very high expectations from the government and it needs to listen to what the people have to say and put up a better show in order to gain back their support. At least it must let the people feel that the economy has indeed improved and their financial burdens significantly relieved.
Mounting financial burden will only spawn more frustration. In the past, such frustration was targeted specifically at BN. With PH now taking the helm, sure enough it has to answer to the people's needs and demands.
From Cameron Highlands to Semenyih and Rantau, the ruling coalition has suffered three consecutive defeats which collectively deliver a very strong message that the PH government needs to focus more on economic development and deliver its promises, not continuing with vicious political fights.
As Daim Zainuddin has said, the voters in Rantau have made a decision, and the government should look into this seriously and pay more attention to economy now.