Machap: BN majority slashed by 481 votes in a race marred by vote-buying, violence, bribery and intimidation

I met Mafrel chairman Malik and his team outside the Machap Baru polling station. Mafrel was doing a good job in ensuring a smooth and clean voting process.

MCA retains Machap with lower majority

Beh Lih Yi and Soon Li Tsin
Apr 12, 07 8:24pm
Malaysiakini
After nine days of intensive campaigning, the Barisan Nasional today retained its stronghold state seat in Machap with a comfortable victory despite a slightly reduced majority.BN candidate Lai Meng Chong (photo, left), 56, defeated 33-year-old DAP candidate Liou Chen Kuang by a 4,081-vote majority.This is 481 votes less than the majority achieved three years ago – the 2004 general election.

Lai, who was the political secretary to minister and MCA vice-president Dr Fong Chan Onn gained 5,533 votes while Liou, who contested in the seat for the second time garnered 1,452 votes.

There were a rather high number of spoilt votes – 166.

Returning officer Hasim Ismail made the announcement, which was carried live on television, at about 8.30pm at the Kompleks Japerun in Machap. Also present was Deputy Prime Minister Najib Abdul Razak.

The reduced majority for BN is significant as the Machap by-election has been dubbed as a test on voters sentiment in the lead-up to the next general election which could be held as early as later this year.

BN’s victory today was however marred by allegations of vote-buying following a police report lodged by the DAP this afternoon.

The coalition has also come under fire for pouring millions of ringgit for infrastructure development projects during the campaign. 

Some 74.35 percent of the voters went to the polls today in what appeared to be a sunny day – bar the downpour 20 minutes before the pollings closed. In 2004, the voter turnout for the constituency was almost identical at 74.33 percent.

The Machap state seat fell vacant following the death of incumbent Poh Ah Tiam, 55, from the BN on March 15 due to kidney ailment.

In the 2004 general election, Poh beat the same DAP candidate with a majority of 4,562 votes.

Convincing majority

In an immediate reaction, the winning candidate Lai thanked his party leadership, the Barisan Nasional top brass and voters for showing their faith in him.

“I will work hard for the people of Machap,” he said.

Prime Minister Abdullah Ahmad Badawi, who went live on national television immediately after the result was announced, congratulated the victor and said that the reduction in the majority was expected as more people had turned out to vote today.

“However, we must study as to why there are voters in Machap who vote for the opposition,” he said.

His deputy Najib, who oversaw the BN preparation for the by-election, said the win today indicated the people’s faith Abdullah’s leadership.

“It was a convincing majority,” he said. He also rejected opposition claims that the BN used corrupt practices to obtain votes.

‘No, we don’t buy votes,” he said.

Malacca Chief Minister Mohd Ali Rustam said the victory showed overwhelming support of the people of Machap to Barisan Nasional.

Flawed result

Meanwhile, MCA president Ong Ka Ting thanked Abdullah, Najib and Rustam for the leadership that provided this victory.

As for Liou, he told malaysiakini that he was disappointed with the result and hoped Lai would work hard for the people of Machap.

“This is the choice of the voters. We worked very hard and are quite disappointed with the result,” he said.

While the opposition party was able to slash the majority by 481 votes, its candidate improved his tally by only 167 votes. 

DAP secretary general Lim Guan Eng said Lai’s victory was not an honourable victory for BN.

“It is a flawed result marred by vote buying, violence, intimidation and bribery,” he told malaysiakini.

赖明忠5533票廖政光1452票
国阵4081多数票大胜行动党
■日期/Apr 12, 2007   ■时间/08:25:50 pm
■新闻/家国风云   ■作者/MerdekaReview 林宏祥
           
【本刊林宏祥撰述】马华公会候选人赖明忠以4081多数票,击败民主行动党候选人廖政光,成功为马华公会守土!选委会今晚8时半宣布,赖明忠获5533票,廖政光得1452票,废票166张。无论如何,民主行动党不仅保住按柜金,更成功把国阵的多数票削减了481张。

廖政光接受记者访问时表示,他接受选民的决定。

马接补选的总选民为9623人,投票的选民达7142人,达总选民的74.22%,投票的选民以乐龄人士居多;80%的乐龄选民皆投下了手中的一票。

在2004年大选,马接州议席的投票率高达74.33%,投票人数为9887人。当时,已故傅润添在马接州议席以4562张多数票胜选,他的得票是5847张,他的对手民主行动党的廖政光只获得1285票。

在1999年的大选,此选区名为武吉瑟德南(Bukit Sedenan),在烈火莫熄(Reformasi)运动风起云涌的时代,已故傅润添仅以2626票多数票取胜。

民主行动党秘书长林冠英早前为此补选划下五个目标,即

第一、要确保按柜金不被没收;

第二、赢取超过50%或更多华裔选民的票数;

第三、突破直望(Tebong)印度选民至少35%至40%的支持率;

第四、在人民公正党的配合下,希望可获得25%至30%的马来选票;

第五、如果以上目标达成,民主行动党就会在这次的补选中胜利。

在这期间,除了首相阿都拉巴达威,副首相纳吉、马六甲州首席部长兼巫统副主席莫哈末阿里(Mohd Ali Rustam)以及马华公会党要,皆从行政中心吉隆坡远赴马接,该党青年团甚至成立百人助选团,连夜举办“载歌载舞”的歌唱会,俨然是个“补选嘉年华会”。

马华公会马六甲州联委会主席及马六甲行政议员傅润添于3月15日傍晚六时许因淋巴癌病逝,在世56岁。

马接州议席是华人选民占将近半数的选区,根据选民资料,这个州议席选区共有9887个选民,马来人占39.5%、华人占45.7%、印度人占14.5%、其他族群占0.3%。

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