By : ATHI SHANKAR
GEORGE TOWN : Pakatan Rakyat lost the recent general election because its campaign strategy was faulty, not because it was the victim of fraud, according to the Malaysian Election Observers Network (Meonet).
Meonet Chief, Ong Boon Keong said today that his organisation’s ground study found Pakatan did not have an effective strategy to penetrate Barisan Nasional’s rural vote bank, especially in Sabah and Sarawak.
He noted that virtually all of Pakatan’s claims of fraud involved urban constituencies, where it was more successful than BN.
“Strategically, Pakatan’s claim that fraud robbed it of victory is misplaced,” Ong told FMT.
Meonet’s team of volunteers monitored the election in Sabah and Sarawak.
Ong said BN effectively engaged the local chieftains and power brokers in the two states to secure the rural votes.
He urged Pakatan to take a good look at its own campaign strategy, saying it would not be able to take over Putrajaya until it could penetrate BN’s rural vote bank.
Meanwhile, Communications and Multimedia Minister Ahmad Shabery Cheek has described the Pakatan protest rallies as a “crazy fiesta” held by disenchanted groups who could not accept defeat.
A total 11,054,577 votes were recorded for the parliament contest in the May 5 election.
Pakatan garnered 5,623,984 of the popular votes (60%) against BN’s 5,237,699 (47.4%), and leaders of the opposition alliance have been citing these figures to claim that they were the rightful victors.
The three parties in Pakatan collectively won 88 parliament seats against BN’s 133. Pakatan-friendly PSM won the Sungai Siput seat to make it 89 for the opposition.
What the Pakatan leaders have not highlighted is that Umno won the most popular votes among individual parties.
Umno secured 29.3% popular votes and won 88 federal seats, leaving the second biggest party, DAP, far behind with 15.7% and 38 seats.
Penang Gerakan leader Baljit Singh has called on opposition leaders to accept their defeat gracefully.
Using the analogy of a football match, he said the opposition should realise that the team that scored more goals would win a match, not the team with the most fans in the stadium.
“Likewise, under the country’s first-past-the-pole election system, a party needs to win more seats, not just popular votes, to triumph,” said Baljit. (FMT)