Analyst: No way PAS will win more seats in GE14

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PETALING JAYA: A political analyst has questioned PAS’ ambition to win more seats in Parliament than the 14 it currently holds, in the next general election (GE14).

Prof Mohamad Agus Yusoff, a senior lecturer in political science in Universiti Kebangsaan Malaysia (UKM), said it was most unlikely even though the party plans to contest in at least 80 constituencies.

“In its best electoral outing in 1999, PAS only managed to garner 27 parliamentary seats despite contesting in that year as part of an opposition coalition and facing a Barisan Nasional (BN) beset with problems.

“That was its best (performance). Compare that with the situation now – split votes, internal divisions, and public misgivings about PAS’ attitude towards (opposition) cooperation,” Agus said when contacted by FMT to comment on PAS’ plans for GE14.

PAS vice-president Idris Ahmad revealed yesterday the party’s ambition to present itself as the third bloc in GE14 by fielding candidates in at least 80 parliamentary seats.

He said that in the Federal Territory alone, PAS was targeting 7 seats – Titiwangsa, Putrajaya, Labuan, Bandar Tun Razak, Wangsa Maju, Setiawangsa and Lembah Pantai – with two more, Segambut and Batu, under discussion.

Agus said PAS was given the opportunity by voters to head the state governments of Terengganu (in 1999) and Kedah (2008), but the party lost the two states in the following elections.

So, he said, the target envisaged by the party to win more seats would be difficult to achieve.

“In fact, even to repeat its best performance would be tough,” he added.

Agus predicted the Islamist party might even find it difficult in GE14 to defend its hold on the Kelantan state government, which it has controlled since 1990.

“If three-cornered fights occur in Kelantan, Umno would have the advantage because the votes previously going to PAS would be split between it and Amanah and also with Pakatan Harapan.

“Furthermore, Umno is stronger in terms of financial clout, strength of machinery and strategy.

“If PAS were to field new faces and the voters believed in its vision for Kelantan, it might stand a chance (to win). But if it is difficult now, then it will be (more) difficult for PAS to retain Kelantan (in GE14).

“The rakyat also want to see a transformation,” he said.