Dr S Streram (PKR) was heavily defeated by Mohamad Hasan (UMNO) in the Rantau by-election. The UMNO acting president had a majority of 4,510 votes over his opponent. Meanwhile, independent candidates R. Malarvizhi and Mohd Nor Yassin only received 83 and 79 votes respectively.
The top candidates of the by-election were undoubtedly going to appear on the influencers list of the topic “Rantau PRK”, but it was unexpected that Datuk Seri Anwar Ibrahim would top the rest with second place on the list.
Reports indicate that the Port Dickson MP is the advocate for his fellow PKR candidate in the Rantau by-election. However, the electoral result was not in their favour.
Anwar made numerous statements and vouched for Streram in many cases. He also cited Streram’s past humanitarian acts in conflicted countries as one of his strengths.
The Star reported on how Anwar tried to persuade Rantau voters to not support UMNO because they deal with racial and religious sentiments instead of concentrating on public interest. “Just because I put an Indian candidate here in Rantau, the Malays are not supporting him?” he questioned.
On the contrary, The Sun Daily reported on Anwar saying that he was confused over the Chinese in Rantau voting for BN. Additionally, Anwar quoted how BN ridiculed the Chinese and other non-Malays by calling them “penumpang” (free-loaders). This was a reference to MCA leaders’ support for Hasan. It is also a question whether Anwar’s statements have become a double-edged sword for Streram, hence the loss.
Further analysis on Anwar’s influence on the matter shows both Sinar Harian and The Malay Mail are more inclined to report on the PKR president’s movement.
As for the absence of Prime Minister and PH chairman Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad, Selangor MB Amirudin Shari claimed it was unnecessary for Tun M to be present as his priorities lies in healing the country, and no speculation is needed in the matter.