BY CLARA CHOOI
ASSISTANT NEWS EDITOR
KUALA LUMPUR, May 6 ― Pakatan Rakyat’s (PR) “thumping” victory in Selangor indicated a marked increase in Malay support for the pact, DAP’s Tony Pua said today, disputing claims that its gains came solely from a swing in Chinese votes.
The party publicity secretary also pointed to the increase in multiracial support for the DAP, despite repeated attempts by MCA and Barisan Nasional leaders to paint the party as anti-Malay and anti-Islam.
“The thumping endorsement from the rakyat for the PR state government is a clear cut thumbing of the nose at Datuk Seri Najib Razak’s leadership of the country and the state,” Pua said in a statement here.
“It is also a rejection by the people of Selangor of all races and religion, of BN’s divisive politics of race, religion and royalty,” he added.
BN had unexpectedly fielded Datuk Zulkifli Noordin in the fight for the Shah Alam federal seat against popular PAS leader Khalid Samad, despite the former’s highly-publicised run-ins with the Hindu community and known hardline Muslim stance.
Zulkifli, who is also the vice-president of right wing Muslim group Perkasa, likely spoiled BN’s quest for Selangor, Pua observed.
“In fact, we believe that Zulkifli’s candidature has played a crucial role in ensuring PR’s victories in Selangor with much larger majorities,” he said.
PR recaptured the country’s richest and most-industrialised state last night in resounding fashion, taking 44 seats to BN’s 12 in the 56-seat assembly and dealing a major blow to Najib and his team.
Najib, who was sworn in this afternoon for his second term as prime minister, had made it his personal aim to topple PR from its perch in Selangor, even appointing himself the head of BN’s election machinery in the run up to the May 5 polls.
But despite the massive onslaught, BN fell flat in its attempt and suffered a worse reversal than it did when it first lost the state in Election 2008. At the time, BN managed to win 20 seats to PR’s 36 seats.
Dissecting the results, Pua, who made another sweeping win in the Petaling Jaya Utara federal seat, said there appeared to be a massive increase in Malay support for PR, allowing the pact to increase its seat numbers in the semi-rural belt of Selangor.
It was here that BN had concentrated much of its machinery during the polls, acknowledging that the urban seats of Selangor and those with high percentage of Chinese voters would be difficult to win over.
But despite this, PAS saw itself victorious last night in the Malay-majority seats of Sabak, Morib, Paya Jeras, Dusun Tua, Tanjung Sepat and Taman Templar.
“This achievement was in spite of the relentless attacks by Umno over the issues of race, religion and royalty on Pakatan Rakyat in the Malay heartlands,” Pua said.
For the DAP, a Chinese-dominated party that has often been attacked as anti-Malay, Pua said the vote count suggested that there was an increase in its Malay and Indian support.
Without this increase, he said, the party would not have been able to capture Kuala Kubu Bari and Sungai Pelek, two seats it lost in Election 2008 that boast a sizeable Malay and Indian population at 33 per cent and 21 per cent, and 45 per cent and 21 per cent, respectively.
“The increased in support from the Malay and Indian community has allowed DAP to win both seats with majorities of 1,702 (2008: -448) and 1,972 (2008: -1,572) respectively,” he said.
After it was confirmed early this morning that BN had retained its hold on Putrajaya, Najib said it was likely due to a “Chinese tsunami” that saw the ruling pact bleed seats to the federal opposition.
The final seat tally saw BN take 133 seats, enough to form a simple majority government, ahead of PR’s 89 seats. In Election 2008, BN won 140 federal seats to PR’s 82.