KUALA LUMPUR: Independent polling firm Merdeka Center predicts that any swing in Malay support towards the opposition will not be enough for Pakatan Harapan (PH) to wrest Putrajaya from Barisan Nasional (BN).
It said not only was the ruling coalition poised to keep the status quo, it also had the potential to “add a few more seats”.
Merdeka Center executive director Ibrahim Suffian acknowledged that the shift in Malay support away from BN had benefited the opposition in areas like Selangor, where it had captured enough votes to secure the state government.
But although there had been a swing in Johor and Kedah as well, it had not reached the level needed to form the state government, he said.
“In other states, the swing is present, but because opposition votes will be split, it is not likely to be material enough to shift the outcome,” he said, adding however that PH would probably be able to retain Penang.
Ibrahim was speaking to reporters after a forum titled “Malaysia GE14 Outlook: Perspectives and Outcomes” last night.
His assessment came a month after research outfit Ilham Centre said growing dissatisfaction among voters who supported PAS and Umno would not be enough for PH to form the federal government.
The opposition has been banking on a “Malay tsunami” to help it win the coming polls.
However, Ibrahim said the only state where PH had the potential to deny BN a two-thirds majority was Sabah.
“PH and Warisan might make some inroads, but we don’t think it will be enough to take the government,” he said, referring to Sabah-based Parti Warisan Sabah which is led by former Umno vice-president Mohd Shafie Apdal.
He said the 1MDB controversy, the increase in the cost of living, and the goods and services tax had played a part in shifting voter support away from BN.
“But the recent redelineation exercise and PAS’ decision to leave Pakatan and be a third force has improved BN’s chances, even though we are likely to see a lower popular vote (for BN),” he said.
On Prime Minister Najib Razak’s remark that he was expecting a better result in the coming polls, Ibrahim said that based on the data collected from voters, BN was capable of repeating its performance in the 2013 general election.
However, he added that there were also several states where the opposition showed potential.
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