It has been predicted that Datuk Seri Anwar Ibrahim would not face any problem gaining victory in the Port Dickson by-election but he might not find it easy to secure a bigger majority than the 17,710 votes obtained by his predecessor.
In the 3 recent by-elections – for the Sungai Kandis, Seri Setia and Balakong State seats – the voter turn-out was low, in fact the lowest in the history of elections in Malaysia. So Anwar is expected to face a big challenge attracting voters in the Port Dickson by-election.
Pakatan Harapan estimates that 30 per cent of the 75,770 registered voters will be from outstation, with 68,468 ordinary voters, 7,268 early voters and 16 absentee voters in the Port Dickson Parliamentary seat.
This means that the party has to work hard to ensure 70 per cent of the voters who are in the constituency will cast their votes in order to achieve PH’s target of 60 per cent while the Election Commission is targeting a 70 per cent voter turn-out.
Anwar has to get a big mandate from the Port Dickson voters in order for his reformation agenda to take off.
According to Universiti Sains Malaysia (USM) political analyst Prof Dr Sivamurugan Pandian although the by-election sees a seven-cornered fight, in terms of charisma and personality, Anwar is seen as ahead of his contenders.
“This is because Anwar was once Deputy Prime Minister and is PKR president-elect. He is a big name not only locally but also internationally.
“This by-election is only at Parliament level and not national. So there is no issue of how much majority Datuk Seri Anwar will get. Even if he wins by one (vote), it will be considered a win,” he told Bernama here.
Also contesting are independent candidates including former Negeri Sembilan Menteri Besar Tan Sri Mohd Isa Abdul Samad, Anwar’s former personal assistant Mohd Saiful Bukhari Azlan, media social personality Stevie Chan Kee Leong, management consultant Kan Chee Yuen and former university lecturer Lau Seck Yan. Representing PAS is Lt Col (rtd) Mohd Nazari Mokhtar.
In the 14th general election on May 9, Datuk Danyal Balagopal Abdullah, 68, won the seat with a comfortable majority of 17,710, defeating Barisan Nasional candidate Datuk V.S. Mogan and Mahfuz Roslan from PAS.
“If he (Anwar) gets a small majority, people may question him,” Mohd Izani said.
He added that with the fight being seven-cornered, a split in votes cannot be avoided, but it would not be something to worry Anwar.
The Port Dickson Parliamentary by-election is being held after Danyal Balagopal vacated the seat on Sept 12 to make way for Anwar to contest and return to the Dewan Rakyat.
The Election Commission has fixed polling day on Oct 13 and Oct 9 for early voting.