Malaysia

Pakatan survey shows faltering support in Perak

By Shannon Teoh
May 05, 2011

Ngeh said the people want both coalitions to serve the public. — File picNgeh said the people want both coalitions to serve the public. — File pic

An opinion poll conducted by the state PR shortly after the February 2009 putsch found that the coalition would have swept to victory in 40 seats or a two-thirds majority in the 59-seat assembly which BN currently controls with 28 assemblymen and four “friendly” independents.

However, a similar survey by Perak PR earlier this year showed it would only win 33 seats if polls were held now.

“Sentiment was very high in 2009. Since then people have calmed down,” Perak DAP chief Datuk Ngeh Koo Ham told The Malaysian Insider.

Pakatan Rakyat (PR) had won 31 state seats in the March 2008 general election and in January 2009, Bota assemblyman Datuk Nasarudin Hashim defected from Umno to PKR.

However, he returned to Umno in early February at the same time three assemblymen left PR and backed BN as independents.

This allowed Datuk Seri Zambry Abd Kadir to be sworn in as mentri besar on February 6, 2009.

The ousted Datuk Seri Nizar Jamaluddin then challenged the validity of Zambry’s appointment in court.

The Bukit Gantang MP claimed the Sultan could not order him to resign as MB and that BN’s majority had not been tested in the assembly.

PR campaigned for a fresh election to be called so that the people’s mandate could be sought.

But BN resisted and finally prevailed in February 2010 when the Federal Court ruled that Zambry was the rightful MB.

Malim Nawar assemblyman Keshvinder Singh also left the DAP in June 2010 and became a BN-friendly independent, giving the ruling coalition a majority of 32 to 27.

Ngeh said personal feedback from Perak voters showed that they have become less interested in the takeover and wanted both coalitions to serve the public.

“After we did the hunger strike in May and fought BN’s legitimacy in several assembly sittings, people started telling us that they got the message and it was time to move on,” said the Beruas MP.

With the momentum appearing to swing back towards BN, Ngeh said PR may try to resurrect the issue during the next general election.

However, the Sitiawan assemblyman said the year-long impasse had created a personality battle between Nizar and Zambry in the silver state.

He said the state opposition has already agreed to maintain Nizar as its mentri besar candidate.

“One of the questions that Perak voters must decide on is which MB they prefer?” he said.

Ngeh said while PR questions Zambry’s record as mentri besar, BN countered this by trying to provoke Nizar and himself.

The senior state executive councillor during Nizar’s 11-month administration said this includes the claim that Ngeh was the “de facto MB” and the PAS leader was merely a puppet for the DAP.

He also said according to PR’s analysis, the next general election could see it losing up to nine marginal seats that it won in 2008 although it could also snatch victory in 11 such areas held by BN.