Kian Ming sees silver lining in Melaka election defeat, but says PH needs new narrative for GE15

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After losing in the Melaka state election, DAP’s Ong Kian Ming said that Pakatan Harapan (PH) needs to have a new narrative and move away from relying on its top leaders to bring in support for the coalition in order to win the coming 15th general election.

The Bangi MP said that the new narrative should feature a fresh line-up of experienced and young leaders from the coalition, a compelling vision for the country post Covid-19 that focuses on competency and capability, as well as be open to forming new alliances with parties such as Muda to attract younger voters.

“The recent Melaka state election results, where the Barisan Nasional (BN) won 21 out of 28 state seats (75 percent), were a disappointing outcome to many PH supporters and even some neutral observers who do not want to see a return of a dominant BN/Umno in the Malaysian political landscape.

“There is still time, but this time needs to be spent well. Personal agendas need to be put aside in the interest of a larger and more compelling strategy and political narrative moving forward,” he said in a statement today.

However, Ong said the Melaka election wasn’t a total bust for PH as there were takeaways that the Opposition coalition can use to build up its momentum for the national poll.

According to Ong, the silver lining was that BN’s vote share in Melaka only increased slightly by 1 percent at most.

“The First-Past-The-Post (FPTP) electoral system gave the BN an electoral advantage, especially in the smaller more rural constituencies but the BN’s vote share of less than 40 percent means that with a larger turnout and more younger voters in the context of a national campaign, relatively small shifts in its support could lead to the BN losing many seats in a general election,” he said.

He said that Perikatan Nasional (PN) also poses a real threat to BN as it took up 25 percent of the total votes ― up from 10.7 percent won by PAS in the 14th General Elections.

“This means that the PN has some hope of gaining further electoral ground against BN/Umno in the next general election.

“More importantly, this will prevent the internal narrative within PAS to abandon PN and to work with BN / Umno from gaining more momentum, which surely would have happened if PN failed to win any seats and managed only to win less than 20 per cent of the popular vote,” he said.

He added that PH and DAP has some shining stars in the Melaka polls, with DAP’s Kerk Chee Yee managing to win 60 percent of the popular vote in a mixed seat which is 40 percent Malay, and Allex Seah Shoo Chin managing to win 66 percent of the vote in a mixed seat which is 37 percent Malay.

“In addition, DAP’s youngest candidate, Mohd Danish Zainuddin, who contested in the 65 percent Malay seat of Pengkalan Batu, came within 1 percent of winning the seat.

“This is a credible showing for a first-time candidate contesting in a difficult seat which also featured a former DAP Malay exco member who had left the party as part of the Sheraton Move.

He added that Adly Zahari retaining his seat in Bukit Katil also proves that he is well-liked in his constituency and will likely be named as the Opposition leader in the state.

Ong said that the Melaka poll also gives time for PH to reflect on its decision to take in ‘political frogs’, which to him discouraged some of its supporters from coming out to vote or switch their votes.

“The lack of a compelling narrative, especially in terms of a future vision for the state government, also requires attention.

“The need for a strong ground game in terms of party machinery, especially in the semi-urban and rural seats, also needs to be addressed. We cannot depend on machinery from other states to cover some of the weaknesses of the local machinery during a general election,” he said.

BN won the Melaka state election in a landslide, winning 21 out of the 28 seats in the state assembly.

PH won five seats, while PN won two seats.

Yesterday, BN’s Datuk Seri Sulaiman Md Ali began his official duties as the 13th chief minister of Melaka from his office at Kompleks Seri Negeri, Ayer Keroh. – MMO