National Implications of the Sandakan By-Election Results

Media Statement by Dr. Ong Kian Ming, Member of Parliament for Bangi and Assistant National Director for Political Education for the Democratic Action Party (DAP) on the 13th of May, 2019

The Sandakan parliament by-election results provided a much needed morale booster to Pakatan Harapan (PH) after 3 successive by-election defeats in Cameron Highlands (parliament), Semenyih (state) and Rantau (state). Sandakan also provides some important lessons and implications for PH at the national level. To deliver Sandakan’s ‘winning formula’ to other parts of Malaysia is definitely more challenging but not impossible.

Summary of Results

The expectation was that with a reduced turnout, DAP would have its majority of approximately 10,000 votes from GE14 cut significantly. But despite overall turnout falling from 71.9% in GE14 to 54.4% in the by-election, DAP managed to increase its vote share by 7.4% from 66.8% in GE14 to 74.2% in the by-election. With this increase in vote share and the presence of independent candidates which siphoned away 5.1% of total votes (presumably from PBS), DAP was able to increase its majority to 11521 in the by-election (See Table 1).

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Cautious Optimism on the Economic Outlook for the 2nd Half of 2019 as Pakatan Harapan (PH) Approaches its First Year in Government

Media Statement by Dr. Ong Kian Ming, Deputy Minister of International Trade and Industry (MITI) on the 8th of May, 2019

When the Quarterly Confidence Indicator for the 1st Quarter of 2019 was published by the Department of Statistics, Malaysia (DOSM), in the Business Tendency Survey report, this figure dropped to negative 2.2% from positive 7.1% in Q4 2018.[1] The February 2019 figure for the Leading Index Economic Indicator, also published by DOSM, showed a 2.2% fall from 118.9 to 116.3, the largest fall since April 2009.[2] The Nikkei Purchasing Manager’s Index (PMI) for March 2019, published by IHS-Markit, a market research firm, showed a figure of 47.2, the sixth straight month for which this index was under the 50 mark (more on the significance of this later).[3] Total trade for the first quarter declined by 1.5%. The negative news surrounding the Malaysian economy in the 1st quarter of 2019 was also felt “on the ground” through slower retail sales.

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Reminders and Resolutions for 2019

As 2018 draws to a close, I thought it would be a useful exercise to list down ten reminders for myself based on my 5 months as the Deputy Minister for International Trade and Industry (MITI). These reminders also double up as my resolutions for 2019 in so far as my Ministry duties are concerned.

1)      DO NOT forget the GE14 Pakatan Harapan (PH) Manifesto

The GE14 PH Manifesto is, currently,  the only guiding document and reference point for the PH government in terms of governing philosophy and objectives. While the Prime Minister and his cabinet have and will come up with new policy decisions based on current political and economic circumstances, we cannot and should not depart from the core principles of the PH Manifesto which includes a commitment to greater transparency, institutional reform, a more competitive economy and looking after the needs of the marginalized.

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