In the three previous Selangor by-elections, Pakatan Harapan won convincingly. Sungai Kandis, Seri Setia and Balakong.
To begin with until 2018, the seat was a BN stronghold. So already it is different to the PKR controlled Sungai Kandis and Seri Setia, and the DAP bedrock of Balakong.
The three by-elections are no reflection of the impending outcome, and it is deeper into the Pakatan administration, meaning the voters are less patient with the novice federal administration.
Semenyih probably won’t be straightforward. The southern seat inside my Hulu Langat has the ingredients of being a massive slip-up for Pakatan.
While a state seat, its outcome would be a message to the federal government. A direct message.
As it appears, Pakatan has no idea who its customers are, it seeks all voters equally, which means it loses support focus. No pivots. More of that later.
What is the state of play for the race?
Pakatan’s Bersatu Pribumi held Semenyih.
PSM will contest, while PAS which weighed in last year will opt out in order to blossom its burgeoning relationship with Umno.
Would the 1K plus votes for PSM scratch the Pakatan majority? The euphoria of May 2018 is long gone and so might follow the 8K plus majority Pribumi Bersatu had in the area.
It appears most PAS votes would flow to Umno, and it is going to come down to the campaign. Of what kind of campaign they opt for.
Of whether Pakatan knows how to campaign when they have federal power, because presently they are presently as defensive as an opposition might be.
They have to go positive.
They have to lean on Selangor’s track record, from Khalid Ibrahim to Amiruddin Shari today, however unremarkable the mentri besar may be, the state government has gone strength to strength. They’ve managed the last 11 years far better than any BN government, and with that track record they have to enter this by-election.
That’s their trump card. The road to victory.
Ask the voters, is Selangor in good shape?
Not Najib bashing, not 1MDB repeats, or the ongoing trials. It has to win on state strength, not federal discomforts.
Or the mismanagement in other Pakatan states, as they battle to be financially stable.
Pakatan Selangor has the answer for this contest, not Pakatan under Mahathir Mohamad.
Separate Mohamad Hasan’s restorative Umno national agenda from the diabolical state of Umno Selangor. There is presently no real state leadership. It floats, just as much as Jamal Yunos tries to reinvent himself as the “modern man” of reconcilliatory politics.
Selangor is untainted by the federal failures and the Pakatan leaders should take the cue from that.
I fear if Pakatan brings the national circus to Semenyih it is courting trouble and inviting an electoral embarrassment.
We will know soon enough.