KUALA LUMPUR – April 10, 2017: Support for the opposition will likely be split if PAS proceeds to stand alone in the next general election and subsequently mean better chances for the ruling coalition.
Political analysts made this conclusion following the Islamist party’s plan to increase the number of seats it will contest.
This will naturally lead to three-cornered fights which is expected to divide the opposition’s support base.
Yesterday, PAS stated its plan to field candidates in at least 80 parliamentary seats in the 14th general election, compared to 73 the last time. This was revealed by a vice-president, Idris Ahmad, who also said that PAS had not ruled out the possibility of contesting in DAP and PKR strongholds.
He further indicated that the party intends to target nine seats in the Federal Territories — Titiwangsa, Setiawangsa, Putrajaya, Bandar Tun Razak, Wangsa Maju, Lembah Pantai, Batu, Segambut and Labuan.
Associate Professor Jeniri Amir of Universiti Malaysia Sarawak said the plan will likely benefit BN.
“PAS can contest as many seats as it wants but will they be able to win?” he asked.
“This is important because the party needs to bear in mind that in the last election, it won quite a number of seats with the support of their then Pakatan Rakyat allies,” Jeniri said.
In the 2013 election, PAS managed to win 21 parliamentary seats. It also won 85 state seats of the 237 contested.
Geostrategist Azmi Hassan agrees with Jeniri on this possibility should PAS go it alone. He however think that this move may in certain instances help the opposition.
“One thing for sure, it will not benefit PAS because there will be a split of votes in any multi-cornered fight.”
Another point is that PAS is not likely to contest exactly the same seats as in the last election since it is no longer obliged to give way to anyone.
Both agree that PAS will go all out to hold on to its long-held seats, particularly in the Malay heartland states of Kelantan, Kedah and Terengganu.