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Anwar: Massive defeat in by-election came as a shock

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PKR leader says opposition's win in Johor's Tanjung Piai is a message to the entire Pakatan leadership

TANJUNG PIAI: The massive defeat came as a shock.

That is what Parti Keadilan Rakyat (PKR) president Anwar Ibrahim said about opposition coalition Barisan Nasional's landslide win in the Tanjung Piai by-election in Johor on Saturday

PKR, together with Malaysian Prime Minister Mahathir Mohamad's Parti Pribumi Bersatu Malaysia and the Democratic Action Party are part of the ruling Pakatan Harapan (PH) coalition.

The PH's candidate Karmaine Sardini got 10,380 votes to BN candidate Wee Jeck Seng's 25,466 votes, The Star reported.

"The majority obtained by the opposition is a shock and also a message to the entire Pakatan leadership," Mr Anwar said in a statement.

"We must learn from the by-election results.

"We need to work to instil confidence in the people towards Pakatan's policies by fulfilling our promises," he added.

Mr Anwar added that PH respected the results and congratulated BN's Mr Wee for his victory.

In Ipoh, Deputy Prime Minister Wan Azizah Wan Ismail said PH would look into making improvements. The PKR Advisory Council Chairman said they accepted the results.

"If this is how people have voted, we must accept the fact," she said.

"Perhaps there are a few things that we are lacking, we will try to fix them," she added.

PH leaders in Johor said in a joint statement that the by-election result was a signal from voters which must be taken seriously, The Star reported.

"Considering the defeat, (Pakatan) Harapan needs to return to the drawing board to evaluate the party's and government's policies, approach and performance which has contributed to the people's dissatisfaction," the leaders said .

PH had already been grappling with plummeting public approval over its management of the country in the past year and a half.

Its popularity plunged to 41 per cent in July, well below the 64 per cent rate recorded when it took over power just over a year earlier, according to a survey by independent pollster Merdeka Center, Reuters reported.

Saturday's result reflects the frustrations of Malaysians who continue to grapple with rising living costs, an issue the coalition had promised to address in its election campaign, said Mr Adib Zalkapli, a Malaysia director with Bower Group Asia.

"It's a manifestation of voters' disappointment over unfulfilled election promises," Mr Adib told Reuters.

"Clearly the Tanjung Piai voters were not impressed with the PH government."

PH will post-mortem the loss at the Presidential Council meeting scheduled next week, said Vice-President Salahuddin Ayub.

Mr Salahuddin, who is also Parti Amanah Negara deputy president, said they will subsequently draft follow-up action, the Malay Mail reported.

"I feel there is one, two major factors which PH must analyse on the result of Tanjung Piai... so, I personally am very open in accepting this loss and the one, two factors should be discussed in the Presidential Council so that the unhappiness of the people towards the government can be unravelled."