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(File pic) Datuk Dr. Rais Hussin Mohamed Ariff Rais said by-elections could be an indicator to the forthcoming 15th general election, if PH did not correct issues and perceptions. (NSTP/MOHD KHAIRUL HELMY MOHD DIN)

KUALA LUMPUR: A Parti Pribumi Bersatu Malaysia leader has little confidence that the Pakatan Harapan (PH) coalition can secure a second term if elections are called in the near future.

Bersatu Supreme Council member Datuk Dr Rais Hussin Mohamed Ariff said given current sentiments, the Barisan Nasional-Umno-Pas pact would win “hands down if elections were called tomorrow”.

“Pakatan Harapan has stopped listening to the people.

“We are now doing what BN used to do.

“We think we have the power and therefore feel that issues concerning the people are insignificant.”

Rais said this during a panel discussion at the “Post-GE14 By-Elections: Implications for GE15” seminar at International Islamic University Malaysia in Gombak.

He said if PH wanted to continue being in government, they had five main issues to address — cost of living, quality of life, underemployment and unemployment among youth, affordable homes and affordable healthcare.

“Enough with plans to have a third national car, a flying car and bringing in (Indonesian ride-hailing firm) Gojek.

“Think out of the box and get things done.”

Rais said by-elections could be an indicator to the forthcoming 15th general election, if PH did not correct issues and perceptions.

He added that PH still had more than three years to take action.

The move to lower the voting age to 18, also known as Undi 18, is a significant factor in determining the 15th general election results, he said.

“Undi 18 is a double-edged sword. It can be used for PH for simple cosmetic things, but we must remember that the youth are not brand-loyal.

“They want clear action, like the creation of credible jobs.”

Rembau member of parliament (MP) Khairy Jamaluddin, meanwhile, said he believed that by-election results did not predict the outcome of general elections.

The former Umno Youth chief said this was because by-elections were localised affairs, and the issues that concerned voters were very much informed by candidate selection, and other local factors.

“As for general elections, the whole nation gets on board, with the aggregate of feelings over five years.

“It’s not just about replacing your MP or state assemblyman, but about potentially changing the government.

“The psychology is different,” said Khairy, who was also a panelist at the seminar.

However, he said by-elections did portray the current mood of the people and inform political parties about developments in the country.

Khairy said the Sungai Kandis, Seri Setia and Balakong by-elections were held during PH’s “honeymoon period”.

The people, he said, were still suffering from political fatigue and were still willing to give PH the benefit of doubt.

He added that the Cameron Highlands by-election was the first indication that PH’s honeymoon period was over.

“We (BN) were smart in candidate selection. Ramli Mohd Nor is an Orang Asli and a genius selection on our part.

“At this time, too, Umno and Pas have come together properly.

“The ta’awun (cooperation for the benefit of Islam) was crystalised in Cameron Highlands.”

Khairy said they saw the Umno-Pas political pact as a winning formula for three straight by-elections, and decided to accelerate with the plan to cooperate.

“There will be a charter on this announced soon.

“This is a direct result of the by-elections.”

Since the 2018 General Election, Malaysia has held seven by-elections, with PH emerging victorious in the first four in Sungai Kandis, Seri Setia, Balakong and Port Dickson.

The by-elections in Cameron Highlands, Semenyih and Rantau were won by BN.

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