Salleh said Keruak
In the 2013 general election, the majority won by the Barisan Nasional candidate in Kuala Kangsar was just about 2% (51% versus 49%) while in Sungai Besar it was just about 1% (50.5% versus 49.5%). Those two seats are what can be regarded as marginal seats and which could go either way.
However, today, Barisan Nasional’s majority in both constituencies increased substantially.
Although the by-elections were supposed to be merely for the voters in those two constituencies to choose their wakil rakyat, the opposition and those opposed to Prime Minister Najib Tun Razak turned the by-elections into a referendum exercise. And the referendum they asked the voters in those two constituencies to vote on was whether they still wanted Najib to remain as Prime Minister.
So the message was simple. If you support Najib then vote Barisan Nasional but if you oppose him then vote Pakatan Harapan. Whether Barisan Nasional wins or loses would all depend on whether you still want Najib as Prime Minister, as what the message went.
That was the simple message the opposition and the anti-Najib group sent the voters in Sungai Besar and Kuala Kangsar. And the voters sent a message back to the opposition and the anti-Najib group by voting Barisan Nasional. And an even clearer message was that this time around the voters gave Barisan Nasional an even larger majority than in 2013.
One point that should not be forgotten is that Barisan Nasional was engaged in three-corner contests (with a not-so-serious fourth independent candidate in one of the seats). Yet the split votes did not affect Barisan Nasional’s performance, where it won a higher percentage of votes compared to last time, making it a double victory in both Sungai Besar and Kuala Kangsar.