DAP: We’ll return to Perak, this time without PAS

Howard Lee says many young PAS supporters had voted for the party only because it was part of an alliance with DAP and PKR.

TAIPING: DAP’s Pasir Pinji candidate Howard Lee is confident that Perak will return to the opposition, despite PAS not being allied to PKR and DAP at the coming polls.

“The PAS factor will only count if we assume that all PAS members will vote for their party,” he said, adding that this was unlikely.

Lee, who heads the Perak DAP’s youth wing, said he had many PAS members who said they were only campaigning for their party but would not be voting for it in protest of its perceived alliance with Umno.

He said during the Kuala Kangsar and Sungai Besar by-elections, when the Pakatan Harapan was in its early stage and at its “lowest point”, the opposition coalition still managed to get almost half of the opposition votes in three-way battles against Barisan Nasional (BN) and PAS.

He said that in the Kuala Kangsar by-election, Amanah garnered 46% of the opposition votes, while in Sungai Besar, it got half of the opposition votes.

“Then, Amanah was just finding its feet,” said Lee, referring to the PAS splinter party who participated in the two by-elections, just a few months after its formation in late 2015.

“Now it has grown in strength and at the same time PH is strengthened by PPBM and former prime minister Dr Mahathir Mohamad.

“I believe we can get protest votes against Umno and PAS through Amanah and PPBM.”

Lee said many younger voters, those between their 20s and 40s, had supported the Islamist party because it was part of a coalition of opposition parties, such as Barisan Alternatif in the 1990s, and later, Pakatan Rakyat, which brought together PAS, DAP and PKR.

Now, Lee said only Pakatan Harapan had a realistic chance of toppling BN, and this would appeal to those who once voted for PAS.

He said as such, toppling BN in Perak could be repeated.

“To form the state government we need to win 30 seats. I think this is very achievable.”

Perak fell to the three-party alliance of DAP, PKR and PAS in the 2008 general election. DAP and PKR had then agreed to appoint a PAS assemblyman, Mohammad Nizar Jamaluddin, who has since left the party, as the Perak menteri besar.

But a series of defections led to BN returning as the state government less than a year later.

After the 2013 elections, BN held 31 seats in the 59-member state assembly, while parties from PH held 24, and PAS four.