April 7, 2009
TAIPING: PAS’ Datuk Seri Mohamad Nizar Jamaluddin won the Bukit Gantang parliamentary by-election with a majority of 2,789 votes.
He beat Barisan Nasional’s Ismail Saffian and independent Kamarul Ramizu Idris.
Nizar celebrates his victory.
The 52-year-old former Perak mentri besar garnered 21,860 votes against Ismail’s 19,071. Kamarul Ramizu only managed to secure 62 votes and lost his deposit.
Ismail, 49, is the only local candidate in this three-cornered contest. Nizar, who hails from Kampar, is a registered voter in Pasir Panjang in the southern part of Perak.
Barisan’s expectation of securing more support by fielding a local candidate did not materialise. The coalition managed to get 622 more votes compared with the 18,449 votes it had secured in 2008 general election.
PAS, through Nizar, who was said to be banking on sympathy votes after the Barisan takeover of Perak state, improved its vote count by 1,845 votes compared with the 20,015 votes it garnered in 2008.
The by-election -- largely seen as a referendum on Barisan’s move to capture the state from Pakatan Rakyat by getting three of the latter’s state assemblymen to quit parties of the Pakatan alliance -- was called following the death of its Member of Parliament Roslan Shaharum of PAS in February.
In the last general election, the late Roslan had scored an upset over Umno’s Datuk Abdul Azim Zabidi with a majority of 1,566 votes.
Intermittent rain did not deter voters from coming out to exercise their democratic rights. Turnout was 75.1% or 41,626 of the total 55,562 voters, slightly higher than 72.65% in the 2008 general election.
In fact, the turnout this time was the highest ever for the constituency which was created in 1986. In the last six elections, the average turnout was only 70%.
This semi-rural parliamentary constituency is made up of the three state constituencies of Changkat Jering, Trong and Kuala Sepetang.