Apr 30, 2007

Ijok - A wake-up Call For BN Reps

Cedrtainly a wake-up call for all BN reps. It's going to be a another round of tough general election for BN.

(BERNAMA) The Barisan Nasional (BN) may have won the Ijok by-election with an increased majority but the close fight should serve as a "wake-up call" for its elected representatives, denoting that the days of easy victories are over.

The by-election, necessitated by the death of BN State Assemblyman Datuk K. Sivalingam on April 4, was the most intense compared to the four previous by-elections in the three years since the general election of 2004.

The Elections Act states that a by-election has to be called should a seat become vacant within three years after a general election.

As such, Ijok is the last by-election for now and the focus turns to the general election which should be held anytime before April 2009.

Political observers conclude that the BN's victory in Ijok reflects the people's acceptance of the leadership and the BN government's power-sharing formula and the cooperation of all races that had withstood the test of time.

BN's K.Parthiban, 38, of the MIC defeated Tan Sri Khalid Ibrahim, 61, of Parti Keadilan Rakyat (PKR) with a majority of 1,850 votes, 201 more than the majority garnered in the last general election.

The Ijok state constituency has more than 12,000 voters, of whom 51 per cent are Malays, 28 per cent Indians and 21 per cent Chinese.

Not wanting to take anything away from BN, the win at Ijok will go down in history as one of the most intense and that the party had to muster all its resources to defend the seat.

One of the reasons cited was the poor service record of its past assemblyman, which was admitted by the BN.

Race was not a factor because, according to Umno leaders, the BN garnered 281 additional votes from Jaya Setia where it had lost by 50 votes in the last election.

BN campaigner Datuk Ashari Ibrahim of Melaka Umno said the party machinery did not face much difficulty in countering national issues raised by the opposition leaders, including PKR adviser Datuk Seri Anwar Ibrahim.

The opposition tactic of personally attacking Deputy Prime Minister Datuk Najib Tun Razak and claiming that he had problems with Prime Minister Datuk Seri Abdullah Ahmad Badawi were easily fended off by Najib and the BN machinery.

Abdullah's visit to Ijok also provided moral support and showed his solidarity with Najib, leaving the opposition dead in their tracks.

At the end of the day, what the voters want is a representative whom they can depend on to solve problems concerning education, housing and basic amenities in their area.

As such, for Parthiban, the former education officer referred to simply as "cikgu", his services in the months leading to the general election will have a bearing not only on his future but also that of the BN.

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