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Rejecting race card in Johor by-election defeat, Anwar says the government should revise strategy

Anwar Ibrahim said the government has a mandate but it must take effective action to restore public confidence towards the ruling government




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PKR president Anwar Ibrahim has dismissed the opposition’s call for the dissolution of Parliament for snap polls, saying the shock defeat in the by-election in Johor does not mean the entire regime has to quit.

The opposition is in a hurry to see general elections in the country in the wake of the defeat of the Pakatan Harapan candidate in Tanjung Piai on Saturday.

But Anwar, who says the defeat was ‘shocking’, believes the government has to shift its strategy and learn from this lesson.

“Pakatan does not deserve to govern the country if it failed to learn from this loss.”

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He said the government has a mandate but it must take more effective action to restore public confidence towards the ruling government.

He disagreed with comments the election results show a trend among one race, the Chinese community, that voted against the Pakatan candidate.

He added there was a swing in the votes from both the Chinese and Malays too.

In a twist of fate, the ruling coalition, Pakatan Harapan lost to the opposition Barisan National in the Johor by-election. BN won with a 15,000 margin, crushing the PH candidate who barely won 10,000 votes.

This is seen as a referendum on the sitting Prime Minister Dr Mahathir Mohamad.

The latter today said he expected a 2,000 vote margin in a defeat of the candidate from his party.

After the vote, there were numerous calls for Dr Mahathir to quit his post. The Prime Minister is yet to comment on the call for his resignation.

On the other hand, Anwar said the people’s frustrations towards Pakatan Harapan cuts across racial lines.

The sudden death of the previous Pakatan MP Dr Md Farid Md Rafik on Sept 21 made way for the by-election.

PKR founder, Syed Husin Ali on Sunday said the message is loud and clear and Dr Mahathir should step down because he has to take responsibility for the severe defeat.

“The results are clear. The people are disappointed and want to teach Harapan, especially Dr M (a lesson),” he tweeted after it became clear BN was headed for a landslide victory.

“He (Mahathir) knows what should be done with immediate effect. Don’t delay it any longer.

“A large number of the rakyat (people) are unhappy with Mahathir’s leadership which has slid (sic) to his and Umno’s old ways.”

He said the people were expecting changes but these have been slow in coming and the people have spoken in the Tanjung Piai by elections. -/TISG

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