The Sun Daily Posted on 25 January 2013 - 09:40am
Last updated on 25 January 2013 - 12:32pm
FROM 1995 to 2008, the number of registered voters (electorate) had declined by almost 34%, from 59,046 to 39,765. This indicates a significant decrease of 19,280 voters over the 13-year period.
The electorate size declined most noticeably by 24% in the period between 2004 (52,017) and 2008 (39,765). This was possibly due to substantial emigration from mostly rural Balik Pulau, with people being drawn away by work and potential income opportunities in urban and industrial areas.
In terms of ethnic breakdown, in March 2008, Malays constituted 59.2% of the Balik Pulau electorate, Chinese 36.4%, Indians 4.2% and the rest made up around 0.2%.
Voting/ ballot papers issued had decreased by nearly 31%, from 44,928 (1995) to 31,391 (2008). In a predominantly ethnic Malay constituency, this significant decrease in electorate size and number of ballot papers issued has adversely affected Barisan Nasional (BN), the earlier incumbent.
Balik Pulau has now become a tighter, closely contested seat.
Despite this decrease, the percentage of voting has remained consistently high across these 13 years (around 76% to 79%), with 2004 being an exception (66%).
This confirms that Balik Pulau voters, across the board, have remained committed towards casting their ballots. In this constituency, voters across the ethnic divide tend to voice similar concerns and common issues.
Between 1995 and 2004, however, voting support for BN (represented by Umno) had been visibly declining, particularly since the resounding 81.7% support garnered by BN's Dr Nungsari Ahmad Radhi in 1995.
The margin of victory in 1995 was an emphatic 30,046 votes against a relatively weak opposition in the form of Semangat 46 (now defunct). BN's victory margin declined to 9,434 when it competed with PKR in 1999, and 11,815 versus PAS in 2004.
With the opposition parties combining efforts in 2008, PKR candidate Yusmadi Yusoff (pix) wrested the seat from BN in 2008 with a narrow margin of 708 votes.
On the surface, this indicates only a 2.25% gap in the total votes polled between the parties. However, careful analysis of the two relevant contributing factors show:
- 24% decline in electorate size, and
- The support-gap difference overcome by the Opposition indicates the "impact of a wave" in this constituency in 2008. Combing their efforts, the Opposition coalition was able to ride that wave, convincing and winning over an additional one-third of the electorate.
At time of print, theSun has yet to obtain comments from both parties regarding their specific plans for this constituency.