The Barisan Nasional (BN) coalition has continued to retain the Slim state seat after its candidate Mohd Zaidi Aziz secured 13,060 votes in the by-election that saw 68.4% voter turnout yesterday, 29 August
Mohd Zaidi defeated two independent candidates with a majority of 10,945 votes.
One of the independent candidates, Amir Khusyairi Mohamad Tanusi, was backed by former prime minister Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad's newly formed party Parti Pejuang Tanah Air (PEJUANG).
He managed to secure 2,115 votes, while the other independent candidate S. Santharasekaran obtained 276 votes in the Slim by-election that was called following the death of its incumbent, Datuk Mohd Khusairi Abdul Talib who died on 15 July. Mohd Khusairi represented BN during the 14th General Election (GE14).
Following the announcement of the results last night, BN chairman Datuk Seri Dr Ahmad Zahid Hamidi described the coalition's victory as a positive signal for the upcoming Sabah state snap election
"Praise to Allah that we managed to wrest 13 district polling centres (PDM). During GE14, we lost six PDMs but due to hard work, we managed to win them back," Dr Ahmad Zahid was quoted as saying.
"This shows that the voters miss Barisan Nasional and we will express that in the Sabah state election, and in the 15th General Election. We will do our best to attract more voters in Sabah to choose the coalition."
He also reminded Mohd Zaidi to fulfil the people's wishes and his promises to them.
"On behalf of the UMNO family, BN party components, Friends of BN, PAS, Bersatu, and all politicians who helped us to win with a huge majority in this by-election, I would like to thank them," he said.
"I would also like to thank Bossku (Datuk Seri Najib Razak) and media members who have been working day and night covering the campaign period and finally, congratulations, YB Zaidi Aziz."
Meanwhile, remarking over his high majority of votes, Mohd Zaidi said that the margin was expected due to people's faith in BN leadership
"Firstly, I thank the God almighty for giving me this victory," he said, as reported by Malay Mail.
"I also thank my father, my wife, and also the Muafakat Nasional's (MN) leaderships who have shown their constant support. And most importantly, I thank the voters in Slim constituency who supported me."
The BN coalition is part of MN, which is a super coalition comprising PAS and Bersatu.
On the other hand, PEJUANG president Datuk Seri Mukhriz Mahathir remarked that the party knew it would be a tough fight
"Our party is yet to be officially registered and BN has unlimited resources for their campaigning, which was also supported by the government agency to help their candidate," he said.
Mukhriz, who is Dr Mahathir's son, expressed satisfaction over the results.
Amir Khusyairi, the independent candidate supported by PEJUANG, thanked the voters, the party, and Pakatan Harapan (PH) machineries who have helped him in the campaign, Malay Mail reported.
"I also thank Tun Dr Mahathir for having his faith in me. This is just a beginning, we will move forward."
Najib remarked that BN's victory in the Slim by-election is proof that the people have rejected the strategy of Dr Mahathir's PEJUANG
According to the Pekan Member of Parliament (MP), the people have grown sick of the personal attacks launched by the newly-formed party, particularly against him.
"The people heard the stories (from PEJUANG) and they have rejected them. They want leaders who can defend them, who can take care of their welfare," Najib was reported as saying by FMT.
"Still they (PEJUANG) mention my name (while campaigning). The people have started to hate hearing about the issue (of personal attacks against me). This is a sign that the people are beginning to realise his (Mahathir's) failure to lead for 22 months," he said, referring to the PH administration that collapsed in February this year, following which a new coalition took over in March.
Finally, Prime Minister Tan Sri Muhyiddin Yassin remarked that the victory is indicative of the people's trust in BN and by extension, the policies implemented by the Perikatan Nasional (PN) government
According to Malaysiakini, PM Muhyiddin said that the victory also proved that the MN trio of Bersatu, UMNO, and PAS was capable of forming a "solid political pact" that could woo voters.
"I hope YB (Yang Berhormat) Zaidi will be able to carry out his duties and responsibilities to the people well," said the Prime Minister in a congratulatory statement on the win today, 30 August.