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Anwar on poll loss: People’s frustrations cut across racial lines

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PKR leader Anwar Ibrahim says Parliament should not be dissolved just because of by-election loss

KUALA LUMPUR: The people's frustrations towards Pakatan Harapan (PH) cuts across racial lines, showing a need for the government to regain the people's trust, said Mr Anwar Ibrahim.

The Parti Keadilan Rakyat (PKR) chief added that there was a major swing of Chinese and Malay votes towards Barisan Nasional in the Tanjung Piai by-election on Saturday and said that PH does not deserve to govern the country if it failed to learn from this loss.

"I don't believe in the race card and I think we need to truly understand the frustrations of our people; Malays, Chinese, Indians and others," said Mr Anwar.

The Tanjung Piai by-election saw MCA's Wee Jeck Seng win with an overwhelming 15,086-vote majority.

Dr Wee, a former two-term Tanjung Piai MP, garnered a total of 25,466 votes against Pakatan candidate Karmaine Sardini, who obtained 10,380 votes. The rest of the votes were split among the four other candidates.

Speaking to reporters in Parliament yesterday, Mr Anwar said that Pakatan leaders should take smart steps to restore the confidence of the people.

He then added that losing in one or two by-elections did not mean that Parliament should be dissolved as the people had given Pakatan the mandate to administer the country.

"Losing one or two or even three seats does not mean that the government has to surrender," he said.

This was in response to Parliamentary Opposition leader Ismail Sabri Yaakob saying government should dissolve the Parliament because PH's defeat in Tanjung Piai showed that the people no longer trusted the coalition.

There is a need for a serious post-mortem to identify why PH was defeated in the Tanjung Piai by-election, says Prime Minister Mahathir Mohamad.

"A detailed, serious and honest post-mortem must be made at all levels of the parties to find out what was the real reason for the by-election defeat," Dr Mahathir said in a statement yesterday.

The PH chairman said he expected the opposition to win by a 2,000 vote majority, adding that the 15,086-vote defeat was much worse than he anticipated.

Several PH lawmakers said Dr Mahathir should shoulder the blame for the loss and call it quits.


One of them, Pasir Gudang MP Hassan Abdul Karim, said: "Tanjung Piai is not an isolated by-election. It will have national implications.

"We respect Dr Mahathir, he plays his role and there was a smooth and peaceful transition to a new government. I think he understands the outcome of Tanjung Piai.

"It's like (British prime minister David) Cameron, (who resigned following) Brexit."

PKR deputy president Mohamed Azmin Ali responded to the questions about Dr Mahathir's leadership by saying the ruling coalition should be more committed to fulfilling its promises.

"This is not the time for Pakatan members and leaders to take potshots at each other or take advantage of the situation to challenge the coalition's leadership," Mr Azmin said in a statement yesterday.

"Any attacks on the leadership will only continue to weaken Pakatan and its effectiveness in governing the country." - THE STAR