KKB polls a test for Anwar’s govt, says Sivarraajh

Ravin Palanisamy

Former MIC Youth chief Sivarraajh Chandran says it would be interesting to see how the voters would cast their ballots on May 11. – NAJJUA ZULKEFLI/The Malaysian Insight pic, April 21, 2024.

THE upcoming Kuala Kubu Baharu (KKB) by-election will be a litmus test for the unity government on whether they have managed to retain the support of Indian voters and will enjoy a swing in support among Malay voters, said Sivarraajh Chandran.

The former MIC Youth chief said it would be interesting to see how the voters would cast their ballots on May 11.

“The Indians are said to be the kingmakers in this state constituency and it would be interesting to see if the unity government led by Anwar Ibrahim continues to have their support,” Sivarraajh told The Malaysian Insight. 

Indian support is said to have moved away from Pakatan Harapan in recent months following disappointment with the government’s alleged failure to address the community’s plight.

Sivarraajh, a senator now, said it also would be interesting to see if Anwar had managed to capture Malay support. 

He said Anwar had been trying hard since becoming the prime minister to win the backing of Malays. 

“We can see his efforts in countering various Islamophobia matters and also his stern stance in defence of Palestine. 

“So, we could see if this pays dividends and if Anwar could garner Malay support,” he said. 

Malay support has largely moved to Perikatan Nasional (PN) as seen in the last general election and last year’s six-state elections.

The KKB seat in Selangor fell vacant following the death of its three-term DAP assemblyman Lee Kee Hiong on March 21 after a battle with cancer.

Polling day is on May 11. Nomination is on April 27 and early voting on May 7.

The KKB constituency has a mixed electorate of 50% Malays, 30% Chinese and 18% Indians.

According to the electoral roll, there are more than 40,000 registered voters in KKB.

Test for PN

The KKB polls will be the seventh by-election to be held after the 2022 general election.

By-elections were held for the Kuala Terengganu, Kemaman and Pulai parliamentary seats and Simpang Jeram, Pelangai and Jepak state seats.

Of the six by-elections, the parties from the unity government alliance have won Pulai, Simpang Jeram, Pelangai and Jepak, while PN won the remaining two. 

Sivarraajh, a former vice-president of Malaysia’s oldest Indian party MIC, added that the KKB polls will also be a test for PN in garnering non-Malay support. 

“It is not necessary that voters will cast their ballot for the opposition if they are unhappy with the current government. 

“PN also must show that it can win the non-Malay votes through their effort and not just banking on voters’ dissatisfaction at the government,” he said. 

Sivarraajh said if a non-Malay independent candidate decides to contest in KKB, this would further split the votes.

“There could be voters who are dissatisfied with both government and opposition, so they might cast their ballot for the independent candidate. 

“There is every possibility for it to happen,” he said. 

Earlier, Ilham Centre executive director Hisomudin Bakar told The Malaysian Insight that a low voter turnout or a shift in non-Malay votes could cause an upset for the unity government coalition, while the trend of Malay voters backing PN could solidify their chances of capturing the seat. – April 21, 2024. 

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