The pact will strug­gle to win votes in Malay-ma­jor­ity seats, says ex­pert

New Straits Times - - News - ARFA YUNUS AND TEH ATHIRA YU­SOF KUALA LUMPUR news@nst.com.my

PAKATAN Hara­pan could lose votes with­out Pas’ vast elec­tion ma­chin­ery in rural ar­eas in the 14th Gen­eral Elec­tion (GE14), ex­perts said.

Univer­siti Malaya po­lit­i­cal an­a­lyst Dr Awang Az­man Awang Pawi said PKR and DAP won a lot of votes in the last gen­eral elec­tion due to Pas’s solid rap­port with lo­cals.

He said credit should be given to Pas’s abil­ity to con­vince Mus­lims to vote for DAP dur­ing a time when Malays were scep­ti­cal of the Chi­nese-ma­jor­ity party.

“For ex­am­ple, 50 per cent of vot­ers in the Raub par­lia­men­tary seat are Mus­lims. Pas helped DAP can­di­date Datuk Mo­hamad Ariff Sabri Ab­dul Aziz there.

“The same goes to state seats such as Derga in Kedah, with Malays mak­ing up 56 per cent of vot­ers. The per­cent­age is sim­i­lar in Men­takab, with 52 per cent, and in Duy­ong, Me­laka, with 50 per cent.

“Back then, the Malay elec­torate had re­jected DAP.

“How­ever, DAP won all of these seats be­cause Pas con­vinced the peo­ple to vote for DAP,” said Awang Az­man.

Pas left the now-de­funct Pakatan Rakyat pact in 2015 due to dis­agree­ment with

DAP on im­ple­ment­ing hudud-linked law in Ke­lan­tan.

Last Thurs­day, Pas of­fi­cially ended its 18year co­op­er­a­tion with PKR when its Syura Coun­cil de­cided that the move was nec­es­sary to de­fend the party’s Is­lamic agenda.

The coun­cil ac­cused PKR of break­ing many terms of its con­di­tional co­op­er­a­tion with Pas, cit­ing PKR’s fail­ure to sup­port its Is­lamic agenda, and work­ing against it in two by­elec­tions last year.

Awang Az­man warned PKR that it might lose cru­cial seats, such as Lem­bah Pan­tai, Gom­bak and Pan­dan, since the party won those seats with the help of Pas’s ma­chin­ery.

The Lem­bah Pan­tai, Gom­bak and Pan­dan par­lia­men­tary seats are held by PKR vi­cepres­i­dent Nu­rul Iz­zah An­war, PKR deputy pres­i­dent Datuk Seri Azmin Ali and PKR vice-pres­i­dent Rafizi Ramli, re­spec­tively.

“Pas strongholds are mostly in Ke­lan­tan, Se­lan­gor, Tereng­ganu, Kedah and Perlis. Seats in those states that PKR con­tested in were lent to them on the ba­sis of friend­ship.

“PKR, DAP, Parti Amanah Ne­gara (PAN) and Parti Pribumi Ber­satu Malaysia have lost a solid elec­tion ma­chin­ery.”

Univer­siti Sains Malaysia po­lit­i­cal an­a­lyst Dr Si­va­mu­ru­gan Pan­dian said while this would be an op­por­tu­nity for PAN to ex­pand its clout in Pakatan Hara­pan due to its strong Malay sup­port base, the fledg­ling party might not have what it takes to lock horns with es­tab­lished par­ties like Umno and Pas.

“It will likely be a chal­lenge for PAN to per­form well in GE14 as Pas has loyal mem­bers and a solid ma­chin­ery.

“It is good that Pas left the pact be­cause it al­lows PAN to grow as a party, but then again, PAN does not have the same size of sup­port, net­work and clout as Pas.”

Dr Awang Az­man Awang Pawi

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