(Source: Wikipedia) PETALING JAYA: The Barisan Nasional (BN) lost the Kuala Terengganu by-election because the rakyat rejected Umno in its present form, style and leadership, Tengku Razaleigh Hamzah said.
The veteran Umno politician said the17 Jan 2009 by-election was a test of Umno’s relevance, and that the poll results would have serious implications on the BN’s power-sharing bargain.
“If Umno is no longer relevant to the Malays, the BN formula is dead. Chinese [Malaysians] will have no reason to support the MCA, and so on.
“The power-sharing, consensual bargain on which our political system has been based since independence is broken,” he said in an e-mailed press statement early this morning.
“There are serious implications to this. We have always claimed that social peace in Malaysia is built on this bargain,” he added.
PAS candidate Mohd Abdul Wahid Endut won the Kuala Terengganu by-election last night with a 2,631-vote majority in a spectacular win that wrested the seat away from the BN.
He polled 32,883 votes in a tightly contested race against the BN’s Datuk Wan Ahmad Farid Wan Salleh, who only garnered 30,252 votes.
In the March 2008 general election, the BN’s Umno had won the seat with a 628-vote majority.
Razeleigh noted that Umno lost by a large majority in a 90% Malay constituency.
We lost [in Kuala Terengganu] because of Malay votes in a state whose government we control.
“We threw the national resources of a party in federal power at this election, and still we lost,” he said.
He said there have been ringing signals for change from the rakyat since the March 2008 general election through the August 2008 Permatang Pauh by-election.
But Umno “either has not heard the call for fundamental change, or is unable to respond to it,” Razeleigh, who failed to garner enough nominations to contest the Umno presidency in upcoming party polls, said.
“Money, machinery and incumbency could not trump the call for change. The BN will lose, and will in the end lose everything, until we respond fully and sincerely.
“But the response from the leadership yet again is that this ‘should not be interpreted as voters having spurned the BN’.
“Our leadership remains in denial. Loyal members of Umno and the BN will feel they are on a sinking ship,” he said, noting that this was the BN’s third loss in an election in 10 months.
He added that a party leadership in denial is unlikely to form a government with the realism and courage to face an economic meltdown that it also denies is happening.
Razaleigh expressed his admiration for hardworking party members who toiled for two weeks for the by-election, but added that the party lost “because of a national problem”.
BN has lost the plot
Polling in KT ends
Sunny start to polling day in KT
Fence-sitters hold the key
Positive and negative campaigning
Reckoning with the electorate
Assessing Chinese Malaysian support
KT’s decorative touch
KT’s odd man out
Getting the message across in KT
Politicising Islam in KT
Contrasting campaign styles in KT