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Anwar’s maths may just add up

 | June 8, 2012

Political analysts say that although it is not impossible for Pakatan Rakyat to win 122 seats, the opposition coalition still has a lot of work to do.

PETALING JAYA: Opposition Leader Anwar Ibrahim has spoken of forming a government with a 10-seat majority but some analysts say it will not be that easy.

Going by Anwar’s calculations, Pakatan Rakyat, which currently holds 82 seats, will need an additional 40 seats to form a simple majority of 122 seats.

Given the current political climate, some political analysts say that this may be achievable. However, they are of the opinion that Pakatan does have its work cut out if it wants a simple majority.

Speaking to FMT, analysts say that if Pakatan can retain its 82 seats, the additional seats will most likely come from seats in Sarawak, Sabah and Johor.

Universiti Malaysia Sarawak’s professor Faisal Syam Hazis said that based on a purely numbers-game, the additional seats needed to form a simple majority was achievable.

“To give an optimistic estimate, in Sarawak it was clear to see from the state elections that the opposition has been making inroads. I would say Pakatan can gain at least six to eight or 10 parliamentary seats in Sarawak. But it will be difficult for them to clinch more than six seats,

“These seats will be the urban Chinese seats [such as Bandar Kuching, Sarikei, Lanang, Sibu, Miri] and some from the non-Malay Bumiputera seats such as the Dayak majority seats,

“The Dayak seats may be won because of the infighting among the Barisan Nasional parties there. So because of this, Pakatan may be able to gain more seats,” he said.

He added that although the situation is Sabah is extremely fluid at the moment, hence making it difficult to predict, there is a chance that the fluidity may settle in favour of Pakatan.

“There have been rumours going on for a while now that the leaders in Sabah will jump ship to Pakatan. However, that remains to be seen. But if that happens, then Pakatan is set to gain,” he said.

There has been much talk that BN-allied local leaders were not pleased with the state leadership. This has been causing much uncertainty in the state’s political climate.

Patronage still strong

Chinese seats in Johor are also likely to go to Pakatan, he said. However, Faisal warned that the Malay votes will swing back to the ruling government.

“Patronage is still very strong in the Malay community and the Malays will not forget the people who have helped them. The handouts given by BN and the element of fear BN has played up with the community has some impact, ” he said.

Universiti Teknologi Mara associate professor Shaharudin Baharuddin also said the additional numbers Pakatan needs were quite achievable.

“Besides the seats in Sabah and Sarawak, they need to break through in Johor and Malacca. They need one or two additional seats from Pahang, Terengganu and Perak,

“But this theory is based on the assumption that BN is not working at all. The fact is that BN will be working hard, so that needs to be factored in. However, there is definitely a possibility of Pakatan getting its numbers,” he said.

Shaharudin, however, said the Malay votes were still very much split between the government and the opposition.

Lose some, gain some

He said that based on his previous research there was no need for any party to win a 100% Malay support.

“The maximum Malay support that can usually be attained is about 62% to 65%. If Pakatan has about 70% Chinese support, then logically speaking they do not need all the Malay support.

“If you ask me, the Malay vote is still 50-50,” he said.

When asked what will be the determining factor in the coming election, Shaharudin said that a lot of it depends on the enthusiasm generated during the campaign period.

“It is who can work up the crowd, their party machinery and generate the most enthusiasm,” he said.

Merdeka Centre project manager, Tan Seng Kiat, said that in order for Pakatan to achieve its desired numbers, it needed to further engage the people on the ground as many groups of voters are still fence-sitters

“It is not impossible but it will be tough for them to achieve.

“Out of the 82 existing seats, I would say that they may retain the status quo… they may lose some and gain some seats,” he said.

He said the centre could not venture a prediction for Sabah and Sarawak as it does not conduct much research there.

However, he said that there was a split between the older and younger generation Malay in the peninsula whose votes may sway towards the opposition.

Also read:

Anwar looking at 10-seat majority


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