From l-r: Mat Sabu, Mansor Othman, Guan Eng and Anwar Ibrahim
BUKIT MERTAJAM, 31 May 2009: As expected, Pakatan Rakyat (PR) has notched yet another by-election victory, when Parti Keadilan Rakyat (PKR)’s Dr Mansor Othman scored a thumping win here in Penanti.
Additionally, Mansor will be made the new Penang deputy chief minister (DCM) 1 next Wednesday.
Mansor polled 6,052 votes to independents Nai Khan Ari Nai Keow‘s 494 votes, Aminah Abdullah‘s 392 votes, and Kamarul Ramizu Idris‘s 56 votes in nine voting districts, giving Mansor a landslide 5,558-vote majority.
The three independent candidates all lost their deposits, while spoilt votes amounted to 107, according to the Election Commission (EC). The discrepancy of an additional spoilt vote was not explained by the EC.
The EC announced the final official tally here at the Institute Kemahiran Belia Negara at whirlwind speed, with Mansor declared the victor at 8.25pm.
The ballot, however, was marred by low voter turnout — 46.15% — which the EC confirmed as one of the lowest in Malaysian history.
Speaking to reporters after the announcement, though, Mansor said, “This is all part of the political process — the turnout might have been low, but the majority given to PKR was very high.”
He said that he was not disappointed at all with the low turnout.
PKR adviser Datuk Seri Anwar Ibrahim said that PKR’s victory was all the more significant because the Barisan Nasional (BN) and Umno-aligned media had given more favourable coverage to the independents.
“But the support we received is as we forecasted,” he said.
Penang Chief Minister Lim Guan Eng confirmed to reporters that Mansor would be sworn in as DCM 1 on 3 June, in time for the next state executive council meeting.
“I look forward to working with such a capable leader with impressive academic credentials,” he said, and congratulated Mansor.
He said Mansor was the right person to develop a people-centered government for Penang.
The Penanti seat fell vacant after the former DCM 1, Mohammad Fairus Khairuddin, resigned as DCM and state assemblyperson.
Independents trounced again
Among the independents, only Nai Khan Ari showed up at the tallying center.
Nai Khan AriHe told reporters, “I am a little bit disappointed that I lost my deposit and that I lost in my ‘strongholds’ of Teluk Wang and Kampung Sungai Lembu.”
However, he said that he would still contribute his best to “whoever is there to look after the welfare of Penanti residents”.
He said he had no regrets, and was adamant that he would not be joining any political party.
Aminah told reporters over the phone that she was not disappointed about her defeat, since the low voter turnout showed that “support for PKR was low”.
“This just means that BN’s supporters did not go out to vote, and that’s probably why I did not get enough votes,” she said.
She said that she would consider contesting in the next general election if she had “the opportunity” and a “long life”.
“For now, my goal of contesting has been reached — PKR now feels challenged and I’ve opened people’s eyes,” she said.
She said that she still has another “big surprise” and would reveal it if she was “pushed to the limit”.