KUALA LUMPUR – Aug 25, 2016: Armed with a set of newfound confidence, it looks like Selangor Barisan Nasional (BN) has finally gotten out of their rut of eight years and is now striding to win back the state.
The feel-good factor follows the reassuring victory in the Sungai Besar by-election in June where BN won by a huge majority of 9,191.
Selangor Umno chief Tan Sri Noh Omar was then made a minister the second time around and like other Umno leaders in the state, exclaimed he was confident BN would regain Selangor.
But the big question remains – “Can they actually win?” Statistically there are not many indications to suggest so.
Selangor BN performed poorly in the 2013 general election when it only won 12 state seats compared to DAP, PAS and PKR with 15, 15 and 14 respectively.
The result was arguable the worst so far, even if compared to their performance in the 2008 election when BN won 20 but lost control of the state to the combined total of the three opposition parties of 36.
Political analysts who spoke to The Mole gave a lukewarm response to the prospect of Selangor BN winning back the richest state in the country in the next election.
“It’s doable but they need to work really hard,” said associate professor Dr. Mohd. Azizudin Md. Sani of Universiti Utara Malaysia.
He pointed out that while it is good that BN is optimistic especially due to the infighting plaguing the opposition, they are the ones who are still politically struggling in Selangor.
“It hurts but that’s the reality in Selangor,” he said, adding that the victory in Sungai Besar was a result of it not being a head-to-head contest.
Selangor is in a peculiar situation in that the government is made up by parties that are no longer allies.
PAS had a fallout with DAP that consequently led to Pakatan Rakyat (PR) to be dissolved last year.
Now DAP, PKR and PAS’ splinter party, Amanah, have formed a new coalition called Pakatan Harapan (PH).
Despite that, Dr. Mazlan Ali of Universiti Teknologi Malaysia thinks the opposition can still defeat Selangor BN again.
His reasoning is that urban voters within the Klang Valley have been slanting towards the opposition since the last general election.
“If BN really want to win in these areas, then they need to carry out its transformation agenda more effectively, especially the ones that promote economic growth. They must also overcome national issues such as corruption, crime and the increasingly higher cost of living,” Mazlan replied via WhatsApp.
Azizudin and Mazlan cautioned that BN should not pin too much hope on help from PAS, despite the Islamist party’s “friendliness” with BN.
“Probably at the next election PR will be replaced by PH and PAS, which is not a part of PH, may be engaged to commit itself in a positive manner to ensure PH’s victory,” wrote Mazlan
That being the case, another UTM analyst Dr. Azmi Hassan thinks that it is imperative for BN to strike a preemptive deal with PAS.
Likening PAS to a king maker in Selangor politics, Azmi argued that the only reason why the state government is still functioning despite its peculiar situation is because PAS has yet to take advantage of the situation.
“There is only one way for the opposition to best Selangor BN in the next election and that is to ensure a one-to-one fight with them,” said Azmi.
Failing to so, Azmi put it, will only mimic what transpired in Sungai Besar.