Zaidi won with a 10,945-vote majority, not a slim majority at all.
The by-election was called following the death of its four-term assemblyman Datuk Mohd Khusairi Abdul Talib, of Barisan, from a heart attack on July 15.
The other event is the launch of the ‘Youth’ party by former Mahathir groupie Syed Saddiq Syed Abdul Rahman (ex-Minister of sports in the PH regime).
Mahathir is not happy the launch of the party of youngsters. The party does not have a name yet and Mahathir’s party, Pejuang did not receive its registration certificate altogether.
Saddiq’s party says Mahathir, will divide the Malay votes. But Saddiq replied that he is not in politics to be the ‘slave’ of the Malays.
It is clear indication that Saddiq’s party will be a multi-racial party since the leader of the party believes this is the way to go in politics.
It is totally different from Mahathir’s belief that only a Malay party should lead a Malaysian government with other communities in tow.
YOUTH PARTY AND PH
But what Mahathir is actually worried with the creation of a new party by his former leftenant, is it will add to the Pakatan Haparan’s stable of parties.
It will also attract young Malays to the party and to the PH, which will become the alternative to the PN-MN-Umno-PAS-BN alliance in power.
This means, the elderly political figure will have to fight another party on the ground if he goes rogue. By that we mean there is the possibility that Mahathir is building the new Malay party as a third force.
And with Saddiq’s party now on the way, the ‘third-force’ ground is becoming a bit crowded. It may even become over crowded if some politicians decides to break-away from their parties to form their own political parties.
Bear in mind that the Azmin Ali-Zuraida Kamaruddin group may still break-away from Bersatu if they feel they are not welcomed in the party.
They may go back to the idea of forming yet another ‘Reform’ party and this will once again crowd the ‘middle-ground’.
PEJUANG AS A THIRD FORCE
With Mahathir’s strategy to bring down the Bersatu, we believe he is planning to build the Pejuang party into a third force.
This third force will then try to be the ‘King Maker’ just as Mahathir said he would like the party to become.
But to become a king-maker, the party must win more seats than the Bersatu did under his leadership in the 2018 elections. The 10 seats it won did not give Mahathir the power to dominate in the Pakatan Harapan government.
He tried to bring the maximum Umno MPs possible, but many were sitting on the fence watching him run the show only to snatch power from him with the infamous ‘Sheraton’ move.
Feeling betrayed by the PN-MN and seeing that he does not have much sway in the PH now like he had prior to his resignation in February, he may be tempted to put he Pejuang in between the PH and the PN-MN.
By doing this, he may think he will be able to swing the voters from both the PH and the PN-MN grouping.
But with the defeat he registered at Slim, it is unlikely that Mahathir will be able to grab more voters from the ruling coalition.
We say that because if he was capable of doing so, his candidate in Slim would have fared better.
Slim is a BN stronghold and grabbing more votes there while fighting virtually alone for the Pejuang candidate would have showed him the way to snatch more voters from the BN front.
Hence, we believe Mahathir has only one way to get the maximum votes possible for his Pejuang candidates.
That is to create three corner fights that will get the PH into trouble. By limiting the number of MPs for the PH, he will be able to garner sufficient support as an opposition force.
With more MPs than he won while leading Bersatu, he expects the PH for example, to seek an alliance with Pejuang to form the next government in Malaysia.
This strategy may work if the PH remains divided as it is today. Many Pakatan leaders are in favour of Mahathir as their leader while the PKR is firmly behind Anwar Ibrahim.
While the strategy may work for Mahathir, it will be another setback for Anwar.
WFTV.LIVE is a Malaysia-based news and analysis portal.