(Petaling Jaya, Friday):
Ketari by-election in Pahang will be an important and significant
political barometer for the country.
it be Lunas 2, a repeat of the Lunas by-election result
in November 2000 which turned a Barisan Nasional 4,700-vote majority
victory in the 1999 general elections a year earlier into a stunning 530-vote
Barisan Alternative win or will it be an Indera Kayangan 2, where the Barisan
Nasional won with a totally-unexpected
bigger majority of 2,593 votes in the by-election in January this year
as compared to a 1,974-vote majority in the 1999 general elections.
vast difference in the Lunas and Indera Kayangan by-election results in a matter
of slightly a year is a measure of the sea-change in
global and Malaysian politics as a result of the traumatic September 11
is no doubt that if the Indera Kayangan by-election had been held before
September 11, its outcome would have been very different from the actual
by-election result on January 19 this year.
Similarly, the Ketari
by-election is a very different
ball-game, before and after the
September 11 events.
and Barisan Nasional leaders have been very uplifted by the political sea-change
caused by the September 11 events, and many are
using the Barisan Nasional victory
in the Indera Kayangan by-election to claim that
they have regained their political strength before
the Anwar Ibrahim turmoils in 1998 and that the political wind has
changed direction, blowing in their favour instead of against them.
Ketari by-election, which may be the last by-election before the next general
elections, in demonstrating whether it is a Lunas 2 or an Indera Kayangan 2,
will therefore be an important test-case as to whether the high hopes of the
people for far-reaching political change and reform, and in particular the
breaking of the uninterrupted political hegemony of the Barisan Nasional in
Malaysian politics which had seemed so possible and near in the last general
elections, is still within reach or has escaped the immediate grasp of
will be the most important message from the Ketari by-election.
the DAP has withdrawn from the Barisan Alternative because of fundamental
differences over the Islamic state issue, both the DAP and the Barisan
Alternative share the common aspirations in wanting to see the restoration of
justice, freedom, democracy and good governance in the country and in particular
the crushing of the unbroken Barisan Nasional political hegemony which is a
precondition for the realisation of these aspirations.
far-reaching political and electoral implications
and the sea-change wrought by the September 11 events on the political landscape
as testified by the very different results in the Lunas and Indera Kayangan
by-elections should be
the common concern of all Opposition parties and it would be in the
national interest of all opposition
parties to discuss the new
post-September 11 political scenario and how to ensure that the Barisan Nasional
is not allowed to exploit the September 11 events to give it a new lease of
political life and even to
camouflage an anti-democracy campaign behind an anti-terrorism campaign.