By : ANISAH SHUKRY
PETALING JAYA: Despite retaining Putrajaya, Barisan Nasional yesterday suffered heavy blows when it saw several prominent leaders fall at the hands of Pakatan Rakyat.
Most notable are Federal Territories and Urban Well-being minister Raja Nong Chik Zainal, Transport minister Kong Cho Ha, and Plantation Industries and Commodities minister Tan Sri Bernard Dompok.
Despite his vast financial resources and position in the cabinet, Raja Nong Chik lost Lembah Pantai by 1,847 votes to incumbent MP Nurul Izzah Anwar.
Kong lost by an overwhelming 8,168 votes in Lumut to PKR’s Mohamad Imran Abd Hamid, while PKR’ newcomer Ignatius Dorell Leiking slaughtered Bernard in Penampang by a majority of 10,216 votes.
Popular deputy ministers who saw their heads roll at the ballot box were Umno’s Saifuddin Abdullah and Mohd Puad Zarkashi, Gerakan’s A Kohilan Pillay and MIC’s SK Devamany.
Former deputy education minister Saifuddin lost by a mere 1,070 votes to PAS’s Nasrudin Hassan, fuelling speculation that the BN leader was a victim of internal sabotage due to his “moderate” stance and vocal criticism of his party’s excesses.
Similarly, deputy education Mohd Puad Zarkashi lost by a mere 1,732 to PKR’s Mohd Idris Jusi in Batu Pahat, Johor.
In contrast, Kohilan was positively decimated by DAP’s Gobind Singh Deo in Puchong; the Selangor Gerakan chief cum deputy Foreign minister lost by a vast vote margin of 32,802.
MIC vice president, Devamany, meanwhile lost to PSM’s Michael Jeyakumar Devaraj by 2,793 votes in Sungai Siput, Perak.
Devamany, who was minister in the prime minister’s department, had been parachuted from the Cameron Highlands constituency where he won by 3,117 votes in 2008.
Replacing him in this election was MIC president G Palanivel, who managed to win with a meager 462 vote majority over DAP candidate M Managoran.