KUALA LUMPUR – March 15, 2016: Political analysts are of the opinion that Barisan Nasional (BN) will likely to gain from the formation of a new opposition bloc by Pan-Malaysian Islamic Party (Pas).
The Islamist party last Friday had announced that it is forming an opposition front and will be declaring its party component tomorrow (March 16).
Pas secretary-general Datuk Takiyuddin Hassan reportedly said that although the party is to remain as an opposition party, Pas would not be working with the DAP or the Pakatan Harapan (PH) pact in its move to strengthen its position as a “third political force”, to face the next general election.
The analysts who spoke to The Mole were of the opinion that the new opposition coalition would split the opposition votes for the benefit of BN.
Associate Professor Dr Mohd Azizudin Mohd Sani of Universiti Utara Malaysia (UUM) when contacted said that although the future remains to be vague, Pas will be “ruining” the PH pact as it will be garnering support particularly from the followers of Amanah.
Azizudin said, the split of oppositions’ votes will take place in rural areas, where voters hostile towards BN will be torn between Pas and its splinter, Amanah.
“We can see that Amanah’s strength is limited to urban areas. Pas, on the other hand receives immense support in rural Malay Muslim areas.
“This is why Pakatan needs Pas in the beginning… Now that Pas is forming a new front, there will be multi-cornered fights involving the two Islamist parties and Umno.
“Umno will win the majority of seats if split of votes among opposition supporters happened.
“So, if we see that happened, Pas’ stronghold Kelantan will probably be won by BN. But, of course, that depends on what kind of force they’re going to form,” he added.
The analyst commented that Pas should remain persistent in coalition building and needs to form a multiracial bloc if it aims to be the rival of both BN and PH.
However, he added, it is ideal for the country to have a two-party system, as the “third force” would perform poorly in general election.
Azizudin also said, all things considered, Pas’ move is believed to be a game plan to show that it has equal capacity with the existing coalitions, and that it is “imperative” to PH.
When asked on which existing “opposition-friendly group” is anticipated to join the new force, the analyst pointed out that it will mostly joined by the NGOs that are rooted to Pas and PKR.
Geo-strategist Dr Azmi Hassan of Perdana School and Geospatial Institute concurred that the new front will mark something new for the country’s political landscape, but split of votes alongside multi-cornered fights are expected between BN, PH and the “third force”.
Azmi said, however, BN has the edge as the split of votes is likely to be between PH and Pas coalition, as the supporters of Amanah and PKR would have to choose between the two opposition pacts.
“I think that it is Umno that will gain all the political mileage, at the expense of not only Pas but also PKR and Amanah.
“The ruling party would have the capacity to retain its seats in rural areas, while voters who had supported the defunct Pakatan coalition will still be torn between Amanah, PKR, or Pas,” he added.
Commenting on the possibility of Pas to remain friendly with PKR, the analyst said that the “friendly strategy” would not happen as DAP will never allow it to, following its unresolved bickering with the Islamist party.
Azmi added, the existing “political sense” where PKR cannot comply with two different opposition fronts at the same time would hinder the Pas-PKR friendship.