(Petaling Jaya, Sunday): The 1,323-vote majority win by PAS candidate, Hashim Jasin in the Arau parliamentary by-election is a Richer 5 political earthquake whose tremors would be felt in the next general elections.
The Arau by-election result is the third seismic parliamentary by-election with far-reaching implications since the April 1995 general elections.
The first was the Bagan parliamentary by-election result of Sept. 9, 1995 which is Richter 3 scale. In the Bagan by-election, the political tremors it created is not because the DAP through Sdr. Lim Hock Seng retained the seat which became vacant as a result of the untimely death of Sdr. P. Patto, but because the DAP won Bagan with a 11,802-vote majority, which is 100 times the majority of 118 votes four months earlier in the April 1995 general elections.
The second was the Teluk Intan parliamentary by-election result where the Barisan Nasional lost its stronghold in a most decisive manner, wiping out the previous 13,986-vote majority of the Barisan Nasional and the DAPís M. Kulasegaran winning instead with a 2,916-vote majority - an awesome turnaround of 16,884 votes. This was why I had described the Teluk Intan by-election result akin to a Richter 6 political earthquake.
The Arau parliamentary by-election is the third seismic event, with the PAS candidate winning a traditional 43-year-old UMNO stronghold since 1955, which will have vast implications on the political scenario, both for the present and in the next general elections. In the Arau by-election, PAS wiped out the previous UMNO 6,889-vote majority in the April 1995 general elections and won with a majority of 1,323 votes - or a most impressive turnaround of 8,212 votes. I would describe the Arau by-election to be akin to a Richter 5 political earthquake.
The Arau by-election will re-ignite the intense power struggle in UMNO which was supposed to have been put to rest, at least temporarily, by the commanding position acquired by the Prime Minister, Datuk Seri Dr. Mahathir Mohamad at the recent UMNO General Assembly.
The Richter 5 political earthquake of Arau has placed at risk numerous UMNO parliamentary seats, demonstrating that although the recent UMNO General Assembly has come and gone, with Mahathir firmly at the helm of the party and government, the hearts and minds of the ordinary people in the country have not yet been won!
The Bagan, Teluk Intan and Arau parliamentary by-election results in the past three years have created a new political situation in Malaysia - which is completely different from the April 1995 general elections where Barisan Nasional won with an unprecedented overwhelming victory, decimating the DAP and nearly destroying the precious system of check-and-balance on the government if Malaysians are to enjoy justice, freedom, democracy and good governance.
The Arau by-election result will force Mahathir to reconsider the time-table for the next general elections, whether he is prepared to lose his 10 sen-wager with me and go ahead with early general elections this year or win his 10-sen wager by delaying general elections as long as possible.