Ijok Win Shows BN Still Popular Among The Masses, Says Najib
Observing that the rakyat continued to have faith in the BN, the Deputy Prime Minister said the win also illustrated their unflinching support for the leadership of Prime Minister Datuk Seri Abdullah Ahmad Badawi.
"This is a truly significant victory as Parti Keadilan Rakyat (PKR) had launched a very aggressive campaign... they hurled all sorts of slander against BN leaders. But we remained stoic and patient," he told reporters after the announcement of the result of the by-election at the Batang Berjuntai community hall here.
Pointing out that the BN had chalked up an increased majority in Ijok compared to the one garnered in the 2004 general election, Najib said the rakyat had opted for a responsible party, mindful that their future was inextricably linked to the BN.
The BN retained the Ijok seat when its candidate, K. Parthiban, 38, beat Tan Sri Abdul Khalid Ibrahim of the PKR in the straight fight to win by a 1,850-vote majority.
The by-election was held following the death of BN assemblyman Datuk K. Sivalingam of a heart attack in Chennai, India, on April 4. In the last general election, in 2004, Sivalingam had garnered a 1,649-vote majority to beat PKR's Abdol Rahman Moharam and Mohamed Shariff Nagoorkani, an independent.
Of today's victory, Najib said: "The people have rejected the opposition by putting their trust in the BN."
On the high voter turnout of 81.88 per cent, the highest ever in the country's election history, he said: "It shows that democracy is very much alive in the hearts of the voters and they had exercised their right as enshrined in the constitution. I view this as something positive."
Najib noted that with the latest win, BN notched up its fifth consecutive by-election success, of which four with increased majority, including in the just-concluded Ijok polls.
He also denied the existence of "phantom voters" in Ijok as alleged by the opposition.
Najib hoped that the Kuala Selangor-born Pathiban would do his best to fulfil the aspirations of the Ijok electorate.
He was also asked whether the BN victory in Ijok pointed to an imminent general election.
"This is a good precursor for the next general election," he replied.
However, the deputy prime minister said the timing of the next general election would depend on many other factors.
"But we don't want to reveal (it). I'm sure the prime minister will know when to call (for the next general election)," he added.