Ijok by-election was a massive battle between the opposition and BN. It was an election the BN wanted to use to boost the morale of their members before the upcoming general elections.
It also marked the first attempt at political comeback for Anwar Ibrahim, the PKR advisor and icon. That is why, days after the outcome of the by-election, Zam's RTM 1 and 2 are still going ballistic against the opposition figure.
The BN leaders claimed that they have buried Anwar in Ijok. Not realising that their partners, both MCA and Gerakan, are sinking deeper into the soft sand too.
Is it really a political fullstop for both PKR and Anwar?
What is obvious is that the Malay support in rural and semi-rural areas are strongly behind the BN. Most of them are working in the plantation industry which is well supported by the government through subsidies and grants. Higher commodity prices have brought enough joy and good life to the planters and farmers.
Here, Anwar and PKR's campaign on national issues e.g. corruption, good governance and others are not that effective. Only PAS was able to hold on to its hardland in Kampung Ijok although the opposition's majority was slashed more than 50%.
PKR should realise now that PAS is an important ally they should count on to penetrate the Malay hardland. Here, PKR is no match to both UMNO and PAS.
If this contest is about development, then UMNO has managed to convince the Malay voters that it is able to deliver on its development promises. From Jaya Setia, Bukit Badong and Simpang Ijok, it has managed to reverse the Malay support for its candidate (an Indian). This is a harsh blow to Anwar, whose support in the rural Malay hardland is not growing.
However, the situation in both Batang Berjuntai and Pekan Ijok is different. These areas have sizeable Chinese voters of between 31% to 67%. A bigger gain was recorded by the opposition in areas with a higher the Chinese voters' composition. These voters are more responsive to the national issues. It marked an important psychological breakthrough for PKR. Previously, the Chinese voters are not too keen to vote for a PKR candidate. But more of them are voting for the party now.
An opposition leader said that there was almost 6.5% swing in Chinese votes to the opposition despite the millions of development funds poured in by the BN.
This should be the main concern for both MCA and Gerakan.