Pakatan break-up improves BN’s electoral chances

Nikita Nawawi
Written by Nikita Nawawi

KUALA LUMPUR – July 15, 2015: The breakup of Pakatan Rakyat would likely pave an easier way for Barisan Nasional to win the next general election, say analysts.

The first actual move towards ending the coalition was announced last month by DAP secretary-general Lim Guan Eng and the final blow came when Pas’ syura council on Saturday formally endorsed the resolution at its muktamar (annual general assembly) to cut ties with DAP.

Independent analyst Dr Hoo Ke Ping when contacted said BN is now facing a weakened opposition despite the move to set up a new political coalition, Pakatan 2.0.

“The new coalition would not involve Pas as they take in Gerakan Harapan Baru (GHB) which was founded by members of Pas progressive faction who were defeated in the recent muktamar.

“This means about eight out of the 21 Pas parliamentarians would jump ship to join GHB and Pakatan 2.0 but Pas still has the power over the remaining 13.

“With this, GHB would not be able to survive elections if they compete against Pas. Chances are, GHB would not even survive a general election altogether. Pakatan is weaker without Pas,” he said.

Defeated members of Pas progressive faction on Monday had announced the formation of a new political party, GHB which aims to revitalise cooperation between political parties of the opposition.

GHB president Mohamad Sabu or better known as Mat Sabu told the media that GHB is a more inclusive Islamic party.

“This is the beginning of a new partnership of Pakatan Rakyat 2.0,” said the former Pas deputy president.

Hoo is also of the opinion that Umno and Pas should move ahead with the unity government plan as the cooperation, with a strong support from the Bumiputera community in Sabah and Sarawak, would reduce the importance of Chinese and Indian votes in the general election.

“From Umno’s standpoint, Pas breaking away from DAP is a beneficial move. Once Umno decides to cooperate with the Islamist party, they would drive Chinese and Indian voters away and it would not even matter.

“If Pas truly wants to continue spearheading for implementation of hudud in Kelantan, they know that the plan is only feasible with Umno’s support,” he added.

Universiti Utara Malaysia senior lecturer Md Shukri Shuib told The Mole that the sidelining of Pas from plans for Pakatan 2.0 was not a wise move by the opposition leadership.

“Pas would become the biggest threat to Pakatan 2.0 as every decision made by the new coalition would be a subject of scrutiny by Pas. The Islamist party would attack Pakatan 2.0 more than they do BN,” he said.

“Moreover, Pas president Datuk Seri Abdul Hadi Awang and spiritual adviser Datuk Dr Haron Din were lately seen to be more tolerant of Umno president Datuk Seri Najib Razak despite the controversies surrounding the prime minister.

“This is a signal that Pas’ bullets are now aimed at Pakatan 2.0 and GHB,” he added.

Shukri however did not think that Pas becoming ‘friendlier’ with Umno was entirely due to the “goodness of its heart”.

“Pas would do this to secure its position in the political scene. GHB is aiming to usurp power in Pas’ territories especially in Selangor and Penang which would leave Pas’ dominance limited to only in the East Coast,” he added.

Commenting on the odds that Pakatan 2.0 may gain grounds as BN is now in the midst of battling national issues such as the alleged mismanagement of 1Malaysia Development Berhad (1MDB) and implementation of Goods and Services Tax (GST), Shukri felt that it is highly unlikely to happen.

“The current issues would not drag until the election and once the woes over 1MDB are dealt with, BN would still have time to fix its reputation.

“However, I do think that it is timely for the prime minister to reshuffle his Cabinet as BN is fighting a psychological and perception war,” said Shukri.

Universiti Teknologi Malaysia lecturer Dr Mazlan Ali on the other hand disagreed with both Hoo and Shukri as he thinks that it is Pas that would be most affected following the formation of Pakatan 2.0.

“The non-Malay voters who support DAP would no longer opt for Pas in the next general election and Pas internal split is also weakening the party with the formation of GHB. It could jeopardise Pas’ relevance in the political scene.

“GHB is likely to bag votes from non-Malays, half of Pas supporters’ and potentially new votes from five million new voters in the next general election.

“Therefore, it is safe to say that DAP and PKR are still a threat to BN and at the same time, the formation of Pakatan 2.0 is capable of creating a new political wave in the country,” he said.

Mazlan added that to this day, support for the opposition parties has not faced a steep decline since the general election in 2013.

He said this was the outcome of new national issues affecting the public that were not good for BN’s image.

He however said that the latest political scenario had in a way given an advantage to BN now that the opposition is split into two – Pakatan 2.0 and Pas.

“If there is a three way contest between Pakatan 2.0, Pas and BN, I expect BN to be the one with potential to snatch Pakatan’s seats.

“Therefore, for the opposition parties to minimise the risk of losing in the next general election, there is a possibility that there would be some sort of arrangement between Pakatan 2.0 and Pas to face BN,” he added.



About the author

Nikita Nawawi

Nikita Nawawi

Nikita Nawawi is an up-and-coming writer who started his involvement in the media industry serving established local English daily, before joining The Mole in October 2014 as journalist.