Sarawak is tough for Islamic-based parties

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Written by Syndicated News

KUALA LUMPUR, Dec 26 2015 : Islam-based parties will find it difficult to establish their base in Sarawak as voters in the state are more diverse, comprising various religions, ethnic groups and cultures.

Political analysts were of the view that PAS and PAS splinter party, Amanah would be disappointed if they were to use the state election in Sarawak which would be held next year, as a gauge of their strength to garner votes.

Political, Security and International Relations Cluster of the National Council of Professors secretary, Prof Datuk Abdul Halim Sidek stressed that PAS and Amanah would not be able to win any seat in the state election.

He said their efforts would be in vain as the state election was not a platform especially for Amanah to try its luck in winning the party’s first seat.

It would be better for Amanah to test the party’s capability in by-elections than the Sarawak state election as the state election was crucial to parties wanting to form the next state government.

Abdul Halim said Pakatan Harapan was also not expected to perform well in the coming state election as the people have lost their confidence in the struggle of the coalition.

“Pakatan Harapan will only remain as a hope in the state election in Sarawak as the people do not know who are they,” he said.

For Universiti Malaysia Sarawak Communication Studies senior lecturer Dr Jeniri Amir, the image and reputation of PAS as an extremist party among residents in the state would be a major obstacle for the party to win any seat in the state election.

He said the image of Islamic parties was incompatible with the composition and demography of the multi-ethnic community of Sarawak as only less than 28 per cent of residents in the state were Muslims.

“Do not hope Muslim voters would be more inclined to choose PAS as the ideology brought by the party was not in line with the more tolerant understanding and way of life of the people in Sarawak,” he told Bernama here Saturday.

Sarawak PAS recently announced it would be contesting in at least 11 state constituencies in the coming state election.

Among the seats PAS would be vying for were Beting Maro, Sebuyau, Sadong Jaya, Muara Tuang, Samariang, Pantai Damai, Jepak, Samalaju, Lambir, Senadin, Batu Kawa and Dudong.

Meanwhile, Pakatan Harapan which comprised PKR, DAP and AMANAH was said to be only discussing seat allocation for the state election next month.

In the March 10 2011 state election, PAS lost all five seats it contested.

Jeniri said even though PAS maybe be confident of their chances in constituencies with Melanau Malay majority, they were however controlled by Barisan Nasional (BN) through Parti Pesaka Bumiputera Bersatu (PBB).

Touching on BN, Jeniri said even though the Chief Minister Tan Sri Adenan Satem was rated extremely popular with a rating of 84 per cent according to his own study, it was difficult for the findings to be translated into votes as there were internal disputes between Sarawak United People’s Party (SUPP) and United People’s Party (UPP).

He said the internal feuds between BN component parties should be resolved soon.

Sarawak BN currently comprises PBB, Sarawak United People’s Party (SUPP), Parti Rakyat Sarawak (PRS) and Sarawak Progressive Democratic Party (SPDP). – Bernama



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