Tough for Barisan, but ‘it’s not the end’
KUALA LUMPUR: Barisan Nasional was dealt another blow when four of its component parties in Sarawak left the coalition after 45 years of union.
With the departure of Parti Pesaka Bumiputera Bersatu (PBB), Parti Rakyat Sarawak (PRS), Progressive Democratic Party (PDP) and Sarawak United People’s Party (SUPP), BN is officially disbanded in the state.
From 133 parliamentary seats before the 14th General Election (GE14), to 79 seats on May 9, BN now has 57 seats nationwide. Umno in Peninsular Malaysia has 47 seats; Sabah Umno has seven; MIC, two; and MCA, one.
Just over a month ago, BN seemed like an undefeatable force, but, now, its future looks bleak.
The question remains whether more component parties will leave BN, or will the coalition be dissolved.
Independent researcher Professor Dr Andrew Aeria believes BN’s defeat in GE14 does not mean the end for BN, “if they take measures now to reform the ailing coalition”.
He said MCA, MIC and Gerakan had lost their bargaining power and even if they chose to stay, Umno would remain the decision maker.
“Many leaders in BN felt they were compromised by the 1Malaysia Development Bhd (1MDB) issue. But, I don’t think it is the end for BN.
“If they really want to change, those remaining party members and leaders who are less implicated in 1MDB should come together to discuss reforming BN,” he said.
He said most BN members were in a state of bewilderment, but that the decision on the coalition’s future would be clearer after party elections of the respective components were held.
According to political analyst Professor Dr Awang Azman Awang Pawi, the remaining leaders in the BN need to deliberate on the coalition’s future.
He said he believed BN would undergo a rebranding exercise, but how far and how earnest the change would be remains to be seen.
He cautioned against making changes that would merely amount to “a snake shedding its skin”.
“It’s not impossible that BN would undergo rebranding. But all this will be futile if the political culture it had practised is not changed, and if their leadership structure doesn’t change.”
He said although there was a possibility that MCA, MIC and Gerakan would leave the coalition, it was highly unlikely they would do so.
Professor Dr Awang Azman Awang Pawi