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Reflecting On The Results Of The Rantau By-Election

The voters of Rantau have spoken and they have chosen to re-elect the Acting President of UMNO, Datuk Seri Mohamad Hasan, as their State Assemblyman. I congratulate him and his team on his victory.

I also congratulate KEADILAN and Pakatan Harapan’s candidate, Dr S. Streram and our team for their hard work during the by-election. The results may not have been what we wanted—but I know they gave their very best.

Rantau is now the third by-election defeat for Pakatan Harapan. As with the two previous losses, it must be a cause for us to reflect.

KEADILAN picked the correct candidate. It was simply the right thing for us—as a multiracial, progressive and reformist party—to do.

The problem was with our messaging and the fact that we have yet to deliver the many things we promised to the people.

Malaysia’s voters owe us nothing—we must perform or be voted out. We must engage them on their terms.

These failures are collective and is our responsibility as the governing coalition.

We have yet, as a coalition, to forge a narrative that can win the support of Malaysia’s diverse electorate – particularly the Malays but for other communities too.

We have not sufficiently convinced Malaysian voters—whatever their race or religion—that we can be trusted to govern fairly, as well as create a better future for all our people.

Moreover, the many seeming U-turns over our government’s policies—and the apparent willingness of some of our leaders to abandon our Buku Harapan manifesto, has not and will not help us.

These are weaknesses we must address if we are to regain credibility with Malaysian voters.

There is still time for us to do so—but it will require courage, self-honesty and hard work.

Moreover, Pakatan Harapan must have a sense of unity and common purpose. Division means defeat and disunity is death.

Rantau should be a call for us to re-dedicate ourselves to bringing these goals about—as well as delivering jobs, reform and growth for all Malaysians.

They deserve—and we must provide them—with better healthcare, education and housing, rather than empty promises, heated rhetoric and far-fetched mega-projects.

To the people of Rantau and Malaysia, we promise to be better and do better. We know you deserve better than what we have given and will strive to build a Malaysia worthy of all its citizens.

Please keep supporting us, but also giving us honest and constructive criticism.

Creating a real a New Malaysia is our common responsibility. We hear you. We will act on your needs and work to fulfil your dreams for the future.

The buck stops here and with us.