KUALA LUMPUR, Nov 22 — Khairy Jamaluddin and Nurul Izzah Anwar’s defeat in the 15th general election (GE15) does not reflect the nation’s rejection of progressive politics, experts have said.
According to University of Malaya Centre for Democracy and Elections (UMcedel) sociopolitical analyst Associate Professor Awang Azman Awang Pawi, this general election showed that Malaysians have been too fixated on big names and their family’s legacies.
“Their loss in the GE15 was surprising, but it doesn’t mean that the nation is rejecting progressive politics.
“The fact that Rara (Young Syefura Othman) Rafizi (Rafizi Ramli) and Akmal Nasir (among others) won the election in their areas shows that people do want progressive politics.
“It’s just that people have been too focused on past politic legacies they have overlooked other existing talents who emerged in the election this time,” said Awang Azman when contacted.
He also reminded voters that this was an indicator that political legacy is no longer a guarantee for survival in one’s political career.
Adding to these views, professor of Asian Studies, University of Tasmania, James Chin said Nurul Izzah might have misread the sentiments in Permatang Pauh which led to the loss of the seat.
“A lot of people think that Permatang Pauh is a family seat and they will win no matter what.
“So the people over there felt that she has been neglecting them that’s probably why she lost.
“As for Khairy, it was very obvious. For one, he’s a parachute candidate into Sungai Buloh, people didn’t believe it when he said he wanted to represent Sungai Buloh and you know the demography feature of Sungai Buloh was different from the sort of seat that Khairy could have won.
Chin said Nurul Izzah Anwar might have misread the sentiments in Permatang Pauh which led to her loss of the seat. — Picture by Shafwan Zaidon
“Khairy could have appealed to the more urban educated middle-class group or a very rural seat like Rembau,” he said when contacted.
Chin added that he was surprised that Khairy lost in Sungai Buloh, but not so surprised with Nurul Izzah’s loss as there were already grumblings on the ground.
Nurul Izzah lost the seat that was defended by her father Datuk Seri Anwar Ibrahim for 40 years and later her mother Datuk Seri Dr Wan Azizah Wan Ismail, to PAS’ Fawwaz Mat Jan with a 5,272 majority.
Khairy in Sungai Buloh lost to MIC-turned-PKR man R. Ramanan by 2,693 votes.
Senior Fellow at Nusantara Academy for Strategic Research Azmi Hassan on the other hand said Nurul Izzah’s loss in Permatang Pauh could have been caused by PAS’ influence on the seat.
“That could be one cause of her loss in Permatang Pauh despite that being a PKR stronghold.
“It is disappointing that fresh faces like Isham Jalil (Umno supreme council member Hizatul Isham Abdul Jalil) and Shahril Hamdan lost, these are Barisan Nasional’s (BN) new faces.
“But the people have made their choice, we need to accept it,” he said.
Shahril has since stepped down as Umno’s information chief citing collective responsibility over BN’s dismal performance in the GE15.
Isham has since replaced him.
Shahril lost in the Alor Gajah seat by an 890 majority against Pakatan Harapan’s Adly Zahari.