BN gaining Malay support in Kelantan, says Merdeka Center

KUALA LUMPUR: Merdeka Center executive director Ibrahim Suffian has warned PAS that three-cornered fights in Kelantan could see the Islamist party losing the state.

At a forum at the International Islamic University Malaysia (IIUM) here today, he said results of surveys the opinion research firm had been conducting since GE13 showed support for Barisan Nasional (BN) in Kelantan had increased by at least 8%.

Although this figure was small, Ibrahim said the increase would be significant in a three-cornered contest.

“Based on survey results, as of April, BN may win 55% of the vote and Pakatan Harapan 10%, leaving PAS with 35%,” he said.

The increased support for BN in Kelantan, he said, had a lot to do with the lack of development in the PAS-led state.

“This was mitigated in previous elections because of the late Nik Aziz Nik Mat’s prominence as PAS’ leader.

“A number of surveys suggested that Nik Aziz’s approval rating in Kelantan was far higher than the party’s and while the new leadership has not done anything terribly wrong, Nik Aziz’s shoes are hard to fill.”

He said the fact that the quarrel between PAS and Umno was not as heated as before also made the lack of development in Kelantan more obvious.

“When there are two similar parties, you will choose the one that you think can bring about development.”

He said the voter turnout was also expected to be much lower this election, especially among non-resident voters, saying this would also make things difficult for PAS.

“A significant number of those born in Kelantan live outside the state. The turnout expected in Kelantan will be about 50% to 55%.”