PUTRAJAYA: Pakatan Harapan’s (PH) defeat in the Tanjung Piai parliamentary by-election must be seen as a warning that the people were unhappy with the current state of affairs, especially with regard to cost of living, Prime Minister Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad said.
Dr Mahathir, who is PH chairman, said in the post-mortem done during the special PH Presidential Council meeting that he chaired yesterday, each component party in the coalition had owned up to their faults and gave their assurance to act on them.
“We all realise that this (by-election) bad result is a warning to the party (PH) that many of the things being done by us are not well received by the people, especially with regard to cost of living,” he told the media after the meeting.
“And then there are other reasons as well, including allegations that PH is fully controlled by DAP, which is how the Malays view it, while the Chinese feel DAP is being manipulated by Dr Mahathir of Parti Pribumi Bersatu Malaysia (PPBM),” he said, adding this has led to dissatisfaction from both sides.
In the post-mortem, Dr Mahathir said they had identified the areas and the people involved for all parties to take action on what has been brought to attention.
“Each (party) admitted there were faults on their side and had relayed how to overcome them.
“Yes, this meeting took some time (to conclude) as there were many ideas put forward, and there were also strong views on government plans by the ministers,” he said.
Prior to this, Dr Mahathir was reported to said that PH would conduct a detailed, serious and honest post-mortem at all levels of the party to identify the actual cause of the defeat.
The six-cornered fight for the Tanjung Piai parliamentary seat saw Barisan Nasional (BN) candidate Datuk Seri Wee Jeck Seng defeating other candidates including PH’s Karmaine Sardini.
Wee won with a 15,086-vote majority.
Asked whether the loss was due to PH’s failure to honour its manifesto pledges, and the steps needed to be taken going forward, Dr Mahathir said there will be action taken by both the government via Cabinet Ministers as well as the respective component parties.
“We’ve been told where it had gone wrong. It is as if there are factions, but there do not seem to be factions among the leadership, maybe with some at the grassroots level who are not happy and do not know the real facts and so they give out strong views,” he said.
Asked if PH’s delay in appointing Parliamentary-level coordinators was among the reasons for the by-election defeat, Dr Mahathir said: “There are many reasons for the results of the by-election.
“We have to think of all the different reasons, not just because of the issue of coordinators.
“Many other issues (are) taken into consideration by the people, and maybe they want to remind us and (so) we are reminded.”
Meanwhile, Dr Mahathir said PH was a coalition party that practised freedom of speech, and if there were problems, they could be raised at their respective committee levels or the presidential council meeting to ensure confidentiality.
He said generally, PH leaders were able to sit and discuss matters in the presidential council meetings in a rational manner without having to resort to blaming each other and having harsh words exchanged.
On the opposition questioning the awarding of a project to the National Farmers Association (Nafas) through direct negotiations, Dr Mahathir said: “We can have the open tender or direct negotiations, and we can set the terms and conditions for both.” — Bernama