KUALA LUMPUR – May 2, 2017: Barisan Nasional (BN) grassroot leaders are excited over the likelihood of multi-cornered contests in the next general election following the decision by PAS to sever ties with former allies.
Thy are of the view the decision taken at the party’s annual general assembly over the weekend will result in split votes for opposition candidates, thus giving a better chance to the ruling BN.
In his winding up speech, PAS president Datuk Seri Hadi Awang made clear that the party had no intention of forging an alliance with Pakatan Harapan or BN.
Delegates had earlier passed a motion to sever ties with PKR, which if endorsed later by the party’s Syura Council, will mean PAS having to fight it out in the general election essentially on its own strength.
“BN has always garnered solid support from its supporters even if the number of protest votes has continued to grow since the last two general election,” said MCA religious harmony bureau chief Datuk Seri Ti Lian Ker.
“A split opposition means that there will be more baskets for such votes to be dumped in,” he remarked.
Ti, however, argued that BN may not be benefit from such multi-cornered contests in Malay majority states.
“The way I see it (in such states) Pribumi Bersatu will be Umno’s spoiler whereas for PAS it’ll be Amanah,” Ti said.
In order to counter such a possibility, Federal Territories Umno Youth chief Datuk Mohd. Razlan Rafii reasoned that BN needs to be seen as the better alternative.
Malaysians, he said, are generally peace-loving moderates who dislike extremism and chauvinism. Therefore he argued that the right way to woo them is to convince them that BN is all for moderation.
“Persuading moderate-loving fence sitters should not be too difficult for BN as the coalition has an excellent track record of embedding the principle of moderation.
“For those who don’t believe me, open your eyes and take a good look around you, see how all races are given equal opportunities to do business,” said Razlan.
Gerakan deputy youth chief Andy Yong also thinks that BN will be the one to benefit the most in multi-cornered contests, especially in marginal constituencies.
“PAS supporters will split the Malay votes in such constituencies but I doubt the same would happen in urban or non-Malay constituencies,” said Yong.
He was nonetheless weary of disgruntled members in BN component parties who may sabotage candidates out of spite.
“I understand that in the last general election, certain component party members were dissatisfied with several candidates chosen so they didn’t cooperate with the candidates and made campaigning difficult.
“However, if those in BN are united as one, then these multi-cornered contests will definitely benefit the coalition,” Yong added.