GEORGE TOWN, May 14 – The Bukit Gelugor by- election was possibly the most boring election campaign after the 13th general election due to Barisan Nasional (BN)’s absence from the four-cornered fight. Universiti Sains Malaysia’s Social Science Studies Centre deputy dean, Assoc Prof Dr Sivamurugan Pandian said there was less excitement for the Bukit Gelugor parliamentary by-election. “This (Bukit Gelugor by-election) could be a boring election since the last general election as we don’t see any contest between two major political parties.
“Without BN as a well-known party, we will not see an intense campaign in terms of machinery and manpower compared with independent candidates,” he told Bernama here today. Dr Sivamurugan said the scenario of the Bukit Gelugor by-election was almost similar with the by-election for the Penanti state seat in Penang on May 31, 2009 when BN was not contesting. The Bukit Gelugor by-election will be held on May 25 following the death of its incumbent, Karpal Singh (DAP) in a road accident on the North-South Expressway near Gua Tempurung in Kampar, Perak, on April 17.
The late Karpal, who was a former DAP chairman, won the seat in the 2013 general election with a majority of 42,706 votes, defeating BN candidate Teh Beng Yeam, who polled 13,597 votes. On whether DAP would seek sympathy votes, Dr Sivamurugan said there could be sympathy votes for the DAP candidate, Ramkarpal Singh, who was also the late Karpal’s third son. “Definitely there could be sympathy votes as a mark of respect to the late Karpal’s contributions. Therefore, the candidate must prove his candidacy was not based on nepotism but his own credibility and capability to maintain the majority,” he said.
Dr Sivamurugan said on paper, DAP would easily win the parlimentary seat because it was mostly based on party sentiment rather than issues as Bukit Gelugor was an urban area. “The by-election will not focus so much on development issues at Bukit Gelugor as it is already developed with a high to middle class population. The voters could seek for continuity in development, which was done by the previous state government,” he said, adding that the BN government was the one that developed the state and now the DAP-led state government maintained it.