Sunday, March 09, 2008

ELECTION 2008: New (and young) representation for Balik Pulau

BP-ites have voted, with about 75% turnout of nearly 40,000 of eligible voters and a newcomer to local political scene, the young lawyer Mohd Yusmadi Mohd Yusoff of the Parti Keadilan Rakyat (PKR) opposition party, only 34 years old defeated former economist and chairperson of Bank Rakyat, Dr Norraesah, 59, of the Barisan Nasional (BN) country ruling coalition party, with a very small majority of 708 votes. Both were new candidates for the parliamentary seat of Balik Pulau.

The state seats of Teluk Bahang and Pulau Betong however have been retained by Barisan Nasional by Datuk Seri Dr Hilmi Yahaya and the incumbent Muhamad Farid Saad respectively, both from the Umno party of the BN coalition. Incumbent state representative for Bayan Lepas, Syed Amerruddin Syed Ahmad from BN-Umno also retained his seat. All three BN winners also won with a very small majority of no more than 500 votes each respectively.

Dr Hilmi, 58, a medical doctor who was the first local to open a private clinic in Balik Pulau, was making a comeback to state politics after winning the Balik Pulau parliamentary seat in the 2004 general election.
Muhamad Farid Saad is a surveyor with a Master’s in Business Administration. (The Star, 6 MAR 2008)

The fight, whom Dr Norraesah regarded as "mother and son contest" due to the the big age gap was a close call indeed! Although Dr Norraesah and the rest of BN candidates have expressed huge confidence and almost anticipated to win easy in all of these BN stronghold parliamentary and state seats, the more experienced 'mother' have lost to the 'son', perhaps due to the slight change of decisions like by some voters as highlighted in article in The Electric New Paper (Singapore): "They supported BN in past, but now..."

In a Malay-majority Balik Pulau with all the candidates noticeably to be Malays as well and the voters traditionally being the big BN-Umno supporters, perhaps the non-Malay voters played quite an influential role in turning around the result for parliamentary seat.

And could it be that the voters wanted to send a message to the federal government on their reducing of confidence in the federal power, but still want to ensure that the rather progressive developments in this small town continue?

Obviously, more and more postmortems after this dramatic election results, are due by all parties in response to why people have voted the way they did and what Malaysians today really want, both in big cities and small towns and villages.

Let's just hope that the conventional sense that "changes are good" is right.. ;)

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