PONTIAN: Ground support among the Chinese seem to be swinging in favour of Datuk Seri Dr Wee Jeck Seng in the Tanjung Piai by-election, but “protest votes” from within Barisan Nasional (BN) may even the score for Pakatan Harapan’s Karmaine Sardini, if not tip the scale in his favour.
A straw poll among Chinese voters show that Wee, who served as Tanjung Piai MP for two terms before losing it to Parti Pribumi Bersatu Malaysia’s Datuk Dr Mohd Farid Md Rafik last year, is regaining the support of the community.
Johor Baru businessman Jonathan Gong, who lives in Pekan Nenas, said his family still has high regard for Wee “for his past deeds and services to the locals”.
Wee had also served as Pekan Nenas assemblyman for one term.
“Even after he lost, he still made himself available to the constituents, always ready to lend a helping hand,” said Gong, 31.
His sentiment was shared by Ng Chin Jie, 30, who said Wee remains popular among the Chinese.
Ng also pointed out that rising prices and other issues made the people unhappy with the government.
Even DAP adviser Lim Kit Siang has said the by-election would be an uphill battle for Pakatan Harapan.
However, a high-ranking Umno Youth leader in the constituency told theSun that the decision to field Wee for the by-election could push some party members to cast their votes in favour of Karmaine.
“There will be some protest against us (BN),” said the Umno leader, who requested anonymity.
However, he said the number of disgruntled voters was only between 1% and 3%.
“The situation is under control.”
While Wee may have a track record, Karmaine has the whole government machinery behind him and that is a major advantage.
The Tanjung Piai by-election will see a six-horse race, comprising Wee, Karmaine, Wendy Subramaniam of Gerakan, Datuk Badrulhisham Abdul Aziz representing Barisan Jemaah Islamiah Se-Malaysia and independents Ang Chuan Lock and Faridah Aryani Abdul Ghaffar.