PETALING JAYA: PKR is confident of defending the Batu Pahat parliamentary seat which it won in the 13th general election (GE13), as it believes many Malay voters in the constituency will reject Umno.
Batu Pahat MP Mohd Idris Jausi said it would not be difficult to repeat the surprise victory he achieved in GE13 by defeating Barisan Nasional’s (BN) local strongman Puad Zarkashi.
He beat Puad, the then education deputy minister, by securing 38,667 votes for a majority of 1,524 votes.
In 2008, Puad had thrashed Muhammad Abdullah of PAS by 12,704 votes.
Idris added that he was also confident of being nominated to defend his seat for Pakatan Harapan (PH), which is made up of PKR, DAP, Amanah and PPBM.
Speaking to FMT, Idris said he believed his support among the Malay voters would not change significantly in the coming election.
“I have been here for nearly five years, and I could see the voters in Batu Pahat did not support Umno in various issues lately,” he said.
Idris, who is the Johor PKR deputy chairman, also dismissed the decision of PAS to stay out of PH as having little impact on public support for the opposition coalition in Batu Pahat.
According to him, Malay voters who supported PPBM and Amanah could balance up the loss of PAS supporters.
The support of non-Malay voters, especially the Chinese, has changed little, he added.
He said the voters he spoke to had no confidence in the ability of PAS to bring change and, instead, labelled the Islamist party as a “trouble maker”.
“The people now no longer have the mindset of those in the 1970s. They see through the political games played by PAS in contesting to split votes to give victory to Umno.”
Idris said the goods and services tax (GST), rising prices of goods and petrol, and the weaker ringgit were among the major reasons for the voter swing against Umno.
“Taking all these factors into consideration, I am optimistic PH can defend this seat,” he said.